ESA's ISS supply vessel: ATV-2 Johannes Kepler

ATV-2 Johannes Kepler (click for full size)

By any measure, ESA’s ATV-2 cargo vessel is a behemoth in space, both in complexity and size! And it’s pretty well designed and built, too. Despite a mass of over 20 tonnes, Johannes Kepler can manoeuvre and dock with an accuracy of just a couple centimetres.

The ATV mission…

  • Can last up to six months
  • Requires up to eight months of tests and preparations at ATV-CC
  • Involves some 180 engineers in Toulouse, including specialists from ESA, CNES and industrial teams

The ATV vessel…

  • Has a gross lift-off weight of nearly 20 tonnes
  • Is 9.794 meters long (10.269 w/probe extended)
  • … and 4.48 meters in diameter
  • Has solar panels that measure 22.281 meters when deployed in space
  • Can deliver 100 kg of oxygen to the ISS
  • Uses 2525 kg of fuel to reach the ISS and ensure its later re-entry
  • Uses up to 4000 kg of fuel for ISS reboosting during the docked/attached phase
  • Carries at least 1500 kg of cargo (food, clothing, etc.) for delivery to the ISS

ATV at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou…

  • Necessitates 400 tonnes of material to be shipped from Europe (equivalent to 70 20-foot shipping containers)
  • Requires eight weeks to fill the fuel tanks with propellant
  • Involves 150 specialists working on site

Note: ATV Johannes Kepler will not carry any water to the ISS as none is required at this time.