Apr 4, 2008

Jules Verne docks with ISS

On Thursday, Europe's first unmanned space freighter, the cargo ship Jules Verne, made its successful docking debut at the International Space Station (ISS). Jules Verne successfully docked at the orbiting laboratory at about 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT) under the watchful eye of station commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko. The Jules Verne ATV was launched on March 8, with the help of an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe's South American-based spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

About the size of a London double-decker bus, Jules Verne is the first of the ESA's class of Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) spacecraft to fly to the ISS. The agency spent some 1.3 billion Euros ($1.9 billion) over more than a decade to develop and build Jules Verne, and plans to launch as many as seven ATV freighters to resupply the station as payment for astronaut slots on future ISS crews.

Jules Verne's successful docking filled the last open Russian docking port aboard the ISS, with a Progress cargo ship and Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft taking up the other two slots. On April 7, the Russian cargo ship Progress 28 will move away from the station's Pirs docking compartment to clear a berth for a new Soyuz spacecraft due to ferry the new Expedition 17 crew to the orbiting lab on April 10. Link


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