Europe's fifth, and final, Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for servicing of the International Space Station is ready for integration on its Ariane 5 launcher as preparations continue for this Arianespace mission from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the second half of July.
The ATV - named Georges Lemaitre after the Belgian physicist and father of the Big Bang theory - currently is located in the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building, where it will be mated with Ariane 5. The spacecraft was delivered to the state-of-the-art facility earlier this week after completing its fueling process in the separate S5 payload preparation building.
In addition to resupplying the International Space Station with air, fuel and dry cargo, ATV Georges Lemaitre will perform maneuvers to maintain the crewed facility's nominal orbit and test new rendezvous sensors in space.
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 Airbus Defence and Space, which leads a European industry team. Airbus Defence and Space also is industrial architect for the Ariane 5.
Arianespace's latest ATV mission in support of International Space Station operations is designated Flight VA219 in the company's numbering system, and will utilize an Ariane 5 ES version of the heavy-lift workhorse - underscoring its flexibility in meeting a full range of mission requirements.
All ATVs have been orbited by Ariane 5 launchers, beginning with "Jules Verne" in March 2008, and followed by "Johannes Kepler" in February 2011, the "Edoardo Amaldi" in March 2012, and last June's flight with "Albert Einstein."