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Saturday, July 14, 2007

European Jules Verne Spacecraft Being Readied for January 2008

The Jules Verne spacecraft is being readied for its maiden voyage to the International Space Station (ISS) from the European spaceport in French Guiana in January 2008.

The Jules Verne - or Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket from the Kourou spaceport lifting 7.5 tons of supplies as one at least five ATVs that will fly to the ISS in the coming years.

The new spacecraft incorporates sophisticated automated rendezvous and docking systems. It will deliver air, water, fuel, scientific equipment, food, clothing and even personal items to the platform as well as boost the ISS to higher orbits. It will be a vehicle of growing importance as the Space Shuttle fleet is retired in 2010.

"We have developed a lot of new technologies for the ATV and these will allow us to do many other things in future in the field of space exploration," Daniel Sacotte, European Space Agency (ESA)'s director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration recently told the BBC audio.