Airbus Defence and Space has launched the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) -5 ?Georges Lemaître?. In the early hours of 30 July 2014, the ATV has taken off on the European launcher Ariane 5 ES from the European spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana).
It will set course for the International Space Station (ISS) to begin its mission, which will last about six months.
The ATV-5 is the last European space freighter to set off for the ISS. With a total weight of almost 20.3 tonnes, ?Georges Lemaître? has surpassed its four predecessors by being the heaviest payload ever launched into orbit by an Ariane.
?Georges Lemaître? is expected to reach the ISS mid August, where it will be received by an ESA astronaut.
Thanks to the success of the ATV missions, space European partners are in a position to provide system-critical elements for an American human mission. Airbus Defence and Space is developing, for example, the service module for the American human spacecraft ?Orion-MPCV? for the European Space Agency (ESA).