IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

With Robotic Cargo Ferry Launch, Europe Will Become an Official Supplier to the ISS This Month

• popsci.com

The ESA’s newest Automated Transfer Vehicle--ATV-2, otherwise known as Johannes Kepler--is loaded up and primed for its February 15th launch to the International Space Station, marking a several significant milestones for the European Space Agency and its contribution to ISS operations. Among those benchmarks, it marks the first “operational” flight for the ESA’s ATVs, the 200th launch aboard the European Ariane 5 rocket, and the heaviest load an Ariane 5 has ever hurled into orbit.

ATV-2’s trip to the ISS isn’t technically the first cargo delivery made by the ESA to the ISS; that honor belongs to ATV-2’s predecessor, Jules Verne. But Jules Verne was a qualification flight (conducted in 2008) tasked with performing several technology demonstrations before docking with the ISS and delivering a small payload.