Arianespace marked one of the final steps in preparations for the next Ariane 5 launch as Europe’s latest Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) was integrated atop the heavy-lift workhorse at the Spaceport.
This latest ATV – named after German-born physicist Albert Einstein – was lowered by an overhead crane onto its Ariane 5 inside the 90-meter-tall Final Assembly Building in French Guiana.
The payload fairing – which will complete the launcher build up – will be mounted closer to the launch date, allowing for loading of late cargo for the ATV’s International Space Station servicing mission. This second Ariane 5 flight of 2013 is scheduled for a June 5 liftoff.
Integration of the ATV Albert Einstein for Ariane Flight VA213 is part of this month’s activities on four parallel missions involving Arianespace’s complete launcher family at the Spaceport – including the successful orbiting of three passengers by the lightweight Vega vehicle on May 7. Rounding out this month’s action in French Guiana are ongoing preparations for the medium-lift Soyuz Flight VS05, scheduled for June to loft four O3b Networks satellites; and Flight VA214, set in the second half of July with an Ariane 5 to carry the Alphasat and Insat-3D satellites.
Flight VA213’s ATV Albert Einstein will have a liftoff mass of 20,235 kg. – the heaviest payload ever lofted by any Ariane vehicle. In addition to resupply, the ATV will be used for manoeuvring the International Space Station.
Built by an Astrium-led industry team, ATV Albert Einstein will be the fourth such servicing vehicle launched by Arianespace for the European Space Agency.