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astronautix.com ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle

ESA  ATV and ISS
ESA ATV and ISS - ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle - 1. By 1997, ESA had decided to use solar panels to produce additional power for the Automated Transfer Vehicle.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 48,769 bytes. 424 x 480 pixels.



Nation: Europe. Agency: ESA.

The Automated Transfer Vehicle was first proposed in the mid-1980s as a way to transport unmanned cargo to the Space Station. The Ariane-5 would launch the ATV. Early studies focused on a modified version of the Ariane-5's L9.7 upper stage -- the 'ARIES' concept -- but by 1992 the European Space Agency had decided a custom-built propulsion module would be more efficient. A pressurised or unpressurised Cargo Carrier module would transport up to 9000 kg of supplies.

The European Space Agency also considered using the Ariane-5/ATV to launch the Columbus laboratory. The project's detailed Phase B2 began in July 1996. By 1997, ESA had decided to use solar panels to produce additional power for the Automated Transfer Vehicle. One mission of the Automated Transfer Vehicle would be to boost the International Space Station's orbit. Occasional propulsive manoeuvres will be necessary to keep the ISS orbit from decaying, since air drag slowly lowers the Space Station's orbit. The ATV will dock at the rear of the Russian Service Module and the Russian Space Agency is providing a rendezvous and docking system as part of an ESA/RSA deal. Periodically boosting the ISS orbit now increasingly appears to be the ATV's most important mission, since the Russians may not be able to launch enough Progress cargo spacecraft to do the job.

ESA signed a $470 million contract with Aerospatiale in 1998 to develop the Automated Transfer Vehicle. The European Space Agency also paid $23 million to RSA and NPO Energia for integrating the ATV into the ISS Service Module, while the French space agency CNES received $30 million to develop interfaces for the ATV's Ariane-5 carrier rocket. Aerospatiale also signed a consortium agreement with Daimler Chrysler Aerospace, who will produce up to a dozen ATVs between 2003 and 2013. The target price is $70 million per ATV plus $115 million for the Ariane-5 booster. The final ATV version has a dry mass of 9.2t (including its 3,694kg MPLM-derived Cargo Carrier), carries 2.68-6.76t of propellant for ISS rendezvous and reboost and the maximum weight at launch is about 20.5t. The spacecraft can carry up to 7 metric tons of cargo in eight International Standard Payload Racks, including 860kg of propellant, 840kg of water and 100kg of atmospheric gases.


ATVATV

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 61,612 bytes. 600 x 600 pixels.


Article by Marcus Lindroos
Specification

Total Mass: 20,500 kg. Total Payload: 7,000 kg. Total Propellants: 4,300 kg.



ESA  ATV 1993ESA ATV 1993 - ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle - 1. Cutaway drawing of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (1993). Early studies focused on a modified version of the Ariane-5's L9.7 upper stage -- the "ARIES" concept -- but by 1992 the European Space Agency had decided a custom-built propulsion module (top left) would be more efficient.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 58,794 bytes. 625 x 475 pixels.



ESA  ATV DASAESA ATV DASA - ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle - 1. Alternate Automated Transfer Vehicle concept (DASA). The European Space Agency also considered using the Ariane-5/ATV to launch the Columbus laboratory.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 14,385 bytes. 320 x 211 pixels.



ESA  ATV 1996ESA ATV 1996 - ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle - 1. The Automated Transfer Vehicle rendezvouses with the International Space Station in this 1996 drawing.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 47,466 bytes. 640 x 449 pixels.



ESA ATVESA ATV - ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle, Early Design. The Automated Transfer Vehicle boosts the International Space Station's orbit.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 51,823 bytes. 445 x 480 pixels.



ESA ATVESA ATV - ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle - 2. Ariane-5/Automated Transfer Vehicle orbit insertion. This illustration shows how the ATV payload fairing is jettisoned shortly before the spacecraft separates from its Ariane-5 booster.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 43,070 bytes. 640 x 456 pixels.



ESA  ATV 1999ESA ATV 1999 - ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle - 2. Automated Transfer Vehicle approaching the International Space Station. This is how the final, operational ATV will look.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 55,054 bytes. 640 x 371 pixels.



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Last update 12 March 2001.
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