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ESA delays first ATV launch
Posted: Sat, Mar 24, 2007, 10:32 AM ET (1432 GMT)
ATV illustration (ESA) The European Space Agency said this week that the launch of its first unmanned cargo spacecraft to the ISS would be pushed back until as late as November to both accommodate changing station assembly schedules and to give the agency more time to complete work on the spacecraft. The first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), named Jules Verne, has been scheduled for launch to the ISS on an Ariane rocket in July. ESA announced this week that the launch had been delayed to this fall, with launch windows in September and November. Part of the delay was linked to delays in the schedule of shuttle missions to the ISS caused by the delay of the next shuttle mission, STS-117, from March until no earlier than mid-May. However, the extra time was also needed to complete final tests of the spacecraft, which had fallen behind schedule. The ATV is designed ferry up to 7.5 tons of supplies to the station and dispose of several tons of waste, fulfilling European obligations to support the station as part of the international partnership.
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