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Europe launches first ATV to ISS
Posted: Sun, Mar 9, 2008, 10:24 AM ET (1424 GMT)
Ariane 5 launch of ATV 1 (Arianespace) The European Space Agency successfully launched its first automated cargo spacecraft, carrying supplies for the International Space Station, on Saturday night. An Ariane 5 ES lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana at 11:03 pm EST Saturday (0403 GMT Sunday) and placed the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), also known as "Jules Verne", into a 260-kilometer orbit. The ATV is the largest and most sophisticated spacecraft built by Europe, capable of carrying several tons of cargo, including food, water, propellant, and other items, to the station. The actual docking of the ATV to the ISS is not planned until early April to avoid conflicting with the STS-123 shuttle mission scheduled for launch on Tuesday as well as to allow for several tests of the spacecraft as it approaches the station prior to making a docking attempt.
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