Press Release

ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle Jules Verne arrives at ESTEC

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2004
Filed under , , ,
ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle Jules Verne arrives at ESTEC

After a long and complicated journey by air, land and sea, the Automated
Transfer Vehicle (ATV) christened Jules Verne arrived at ESTEC in Noordwijk on
15 July. Jules Verne is the first of seven European supply ships for the
International Space Station. It will undergo extensive testing at ESTEC over the
next six months.

With flying colours

This is not the first time that ESTEC has welcomed an ATV. Almost two years ago,
a model of Jules Verne was given a thorough checkout by a team of scientists and
engineers. The model survived a series of thermal, acoustic and vibration tests
carried out at ESA’s test facilities.

This time, it’s the turn of the real flight model. Last Tuesday and Wednesday,
the ATV’s instrumentation and payload bay were flown in two uper Airbus
Transporters (better known as Belugas) from Bremen to Schiphol. The two
shipments continued their journey by boat to Katwijk, finally arriving at the
gates of ESTEC on 15 July.


The ATV will be unpacked and assembled this week. The first tests in ESTEC’s new
Maxwell electromagnetic radiation chamber will take place in September, followed
in October by acoustic testing in the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF).
The ATV will be subjected to a noise level of 145 decibels (several hundred
times louder than a pop concert) in order to see whether the vibration resulting
from the massive noise of the Ariane 5 rockets will cause any damage during the

After the tank leakage tests and extending the solar panels, temperature testing
will take place in the new year in the Large Space Simulator. This simulator
will give Jules Verne a taste of what it will be like outside the Earth’s
atmosphere — extremely high and extremely low temperatures in a vacuum.


If the ATV comes through all these tests, the space carrier will be shipped to
French Guiana and launched a few months later. This launch is the first
independent delivery by Europe of food, water, oxygen and scientific experiments
to the ISS.

New provisions will be carried into space at least six times over the next 10
years in a fleet of new ATVs. In all, these craft could transport as much as
7500 kilogrammes, three times more than the capacity of today’s supply ship, the
Russian Progress.

Once the ATV has made the three-day journey to the International Space Station,
it can remain there for up to six months and serve as extra work space for the
permanent crew. Its motors can also be used to boost the space station to a
higher orbit. But there’s one more job for Jules Verne: it will bring waste
material from the space station back towards Earth to be completely incinerated
high up in the atmosphere.

More information




[Image 1: ]
In combination with ESA’s new Ariane 5, 8.5 m-long Automated Transfer Vehicle
(Verne) will enable Europe to transport cargo to the International Space
Station. This new vehicle, scheduled for its initial test flight in October
2002, can carry 9 tonnes of scientific equipment, general supplies, water,
oxygen and propellant. Up to 4 t can be propellant for ATV’s own engines to
reboost the Station at regular intervals as atmospheric drag reduces the orbit.
Developed under Aerospatialess prime contractorship, an ATV will be launched on
average every 15 months as a means of ESA contributing to the Station’s
operating costs. It can remain docked for up to 6 months, during which time it
will be loaded with Station waste before being undocked and flown into Earth’s
atmosphere to burn up.
The ATV becomes an extension of the station. The 45 cu. m. pressurized module of
the ATV delivers up to 7.2 tonnes of equipment, fuel, food, water and air for
the crew.

Credits: ESA

[Image 2: ]
“Jules Verne”‘s Avionics/Propulsion module, called the ATV service module (in
vertical position). The ATV’s service module navigates with four main engines
(490 N thrust) plus 28 smaller engines (220 N) for attitude control. The ATV
service module and the ICC will be mated in September 2005 in order to be
tested. The launch of “Jules Verne” is planned for the end of next year.

Credits: ESA/A. van der Geest

[Image 3: ]
The back of “Jules Verne’s” Integrated Cargo Carrier (in horizontal position)
which will be mated to the ATV service module. The Integrated Cargo Carrier also
holds several tanks, containing up to 840 kg of drinking water, 860 kg of
refuelling propellant for the Station’s own propulsion system and 100 kg of air
(oxygen and nitrogen).

Credits: ESA/A. van der Geest

SpaceRef staff editor.