On Tuesday evening, ATV-3 was on the move in Kourou, rolling on board the CCU3 (Conteneur Charge Utile 3) – a largish ‘travel box’ – from the fuelling area in the S5B building to the BAF – the final assembly building.
Yesterday evening, ESA’s Kirsten MacDonell, ATV Phase E Cargo Integration Engineer, sent in these photos from Kourou with the following note:
Just to let you know that tonight the ATV will be transferred into the CCU3, which will bring it to the BAF. The trip takes about 1 hour and the vehicle drives at a speed of 15km/hr (5km/hr on turns). This will mark the beginning of the combined operations, meaning ATV will soon be on top of the Ariane 5 launcher!
It’s fun to compare the massive size of ATV-3 to a typical satellite like ESA’s Herschel, which was also launched via Ariane 5 (in 2009) and which also was transported to Kourou’s BAF via the CCU3. And Herschel is actually a fairly large satellite! But it’s quite a bit smaller in this photo: