...Ariane 5 of 2013 as preparations in French Guiana advance for Arianespace’s fourth heavy-lift launch of an Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). This Ariane 5 ES version was moved from the Launcher Integration Building to the Final Assembly Building today, marking its delivery to Arianespace by vehicle prime contractor Astrium. With this step completed, the workhorse vehicle is now ready for integration of its ATV payload—which is named after Albert Einstein.
Produced by an Astrium-led industry team for the European Space Agency, the Automated Transfer Vehicles are designed to deliver water, fuel, food and scientific equipment to the International Space Station. Additionally, the ATVs are regularly used in re-boosting the orbital facility to its operational orbit of approximately 400km. and for carrying out maneuvers to avoid collisions with space debris.
Arianespace’s Ariane 5 orbited the first ATV in March 2008, followed by launches of two others in February 2011 and March 2012. Planned for the May/June timeframe, Arianespace’s upcoming flight with ATV Albert Einstein is designated Flight VA213 to signify the 213th flight of an Ariane family vehicle since 1979.