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Posted

http://www.space-travel.com/m/reports/Europe_sets_June_5_for_launch_of_space_freighter_999.html

[quote][b]Europe sets June 5 for launch of space freighter[/b]

The European Space Agency (ESA) on Thursday announced it would launch the fourth, and heaviest, in a series of hi-tech cargo vehicles to the International Space Station (ISS) on June 5.

Named the Albert Einstein, the freighter will deliver 2.5 tonnes of dry cargo, ranging from food and scientific experiments to spare parts and clothing, as well as fuel, water and oxygen.

The total mass of the vehicle, its contents and fuel, will come to 20.235 tonnes, "making this spacecraft the heaviest ever lofted into orbit by an Ariane rocket," ESA said.

The Albert Einstein is scheduled to dock with the ISS on June 15, 10 days after launch, it added.

ESA has a contract to build and deliver five so-called Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) as part of its contribution to the ISS.

The robot craft, each the size of a double-decker bus, are designed to make one-way trips.

They are launched by an Ariane 5 heavy rocket from ESA's base in Kourou, French Guiana.

After detaching from the launcher, the ATVs navigate their way to the orbital outpost by starlight and dock automatically.

They provide stores for the ISS crew and additional living space for the duration of their mission.

The ATVs also use on-board engines to boost the ISS, whose altitude drops because it is in low orbit and dragged by lingering atmospheric molecules.

At the end of their trip, filled with garbage and human waste, the craft detach and burn up in a controlled destruction over the South Pacific.

The fifth and last ATV, named after Belgian physicist Georges Lemaitre, the father of the "Big Bang" theory, is due to be launched in 2014.[/quote]

[img]http://blogs.esa.int/atv/files/2012/01/ATV-AlbertEinstein-poster-1024x726.jpg[/img]

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Posted

Hey Doc, What is the cost like on these compared to the Russians and SpaceX?

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Posted

[quote name='IsItPluggedIn' timestamp='1366073928' post='595639648']
Hey Doc, What is the cost like on these compared to the Russians and SpaceX?[/quote]

Note that all use the common berthing mechanism (CBM) except for Progress. ATV, HTV and Dragon have a 50" CBM hatch; Cygnus has a 37" CBM hatch, and Progress has a 31.5" hatch.

Cost/flight (Cygnus & Dragon are fixed price contracts)

ATV: $450-500M (one way)
HTV (Japan): likely close to ATV (one way)
Cygnus: ~$260M (one way)
Dragon: $133M (round trip w/crew development in progress)
Progress: $110-120M (one way, volume & mass limited)

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Posted

Wow that is fairly expensive, is that why they are only doing one more? or is it one more for their commitment to the ISS?

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Posted

Both.

The ISS committment runs its course, and ATV is so expensive relative to the commercial operators (SpaceX and Orbital Sciences) it's not economical to extend it. Parts of ATV's propulsion bus will end up in the first 2 Orion service modules, but after that there may be a competition for later missions.

There's also changes coming for the commercial operators;

Dragon 2.0 is due to debut soon, and so will a much larger Trunk (unpressurized cargo section), about double the internal length of the current Trunk. This will be necessary for some large payloads going up in the next few flights, including new ISS commercial docking ports, the Bigelow BEAM habitat testbed, and the VASIMR plasma rocket testbed.

Orbital's Cygnus may also be enlarged IF the Antares rockets Aerojet AJ-26 engines get an expected upgrade from 338,000 lbf to 500,000 lbf each (2 of them) and a larger upper stage. As it is Antares can only loft 5,000 kg vs. Falcon 9 v1.1's 13,150 kg / 16,000 kg (depending on configuration), so it needs a boost. Might get it to ~10,000 kg.

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Posted

They shouldn't use such big names for disposable vehicles...while impressive, yes, these are too expensive.

But they have the added advantage of serving as thrusters, which I think the others can't do?

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Posted

Can't do yet. DragonRider and CST-100 may have ISS reboost capability. We don't know yet. Dream Chaser won't because of its docking orientation: it's hybrid engines will be pointing at the ISS when docked.

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Posted

I came here because I thought this thread is about some TV Series about Albert Einstein which starts June 5. :huh:

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