Aerospatiale, the French aerospace group, has signed an ECU 408 million contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a high-tech space freighter and flying dustbin for the International Space Station (IIS). In November, a Zarya navigation and propulsion module lifted into orbit - the first building block in the USD60 billion station being built by the United States, Europe, Canada, Russia and Japan. Aerospatiale's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) - shaped like a 20-tonne large tin can, with wing-like solar panels for power - will work as a high-tech "space dustbin", removing waste from the space station. ATV will be launched by an Ariane 5 Evolution (rocket), and its first flight is planned for 2003. The ATV - a hybrid between a satellite and unmanned launcher - will be able to stay in space for six months at a time and carry nine tonnes of fuel and freight to the station with each flight. It will ensure about eight missions from...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT