Arianespace's busy Ariane 5 flight schedule in 2013 includes the company's fourth launch of an Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to the International Space Station, with cargo loading of the large resupply spacecraft now underway in French Guiana.
The latest ATV - named after Albert Einstein - is scheduled for a liftoff this spring, following Arianespace's flights that deployed the previous 20-metric-ton-category payloads in March 2012, February 2011 and March 2008.
ATV Albert Einstein's cargo loading began in late 2012, and is continuing this month - with the activity performed in the S5C large preparation hall of the Spaceport's S5 payload processing facility.
The ATV program is part of Europe's contribution to the International Space Station's operation, and is managed by the European Space Agency. Prime contractor is the Astrium division of EADS, which leads a European industry team.