space shuttles

space shuttles

ATV-5 heritage

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The fifth and last Automated Transfer Vehicle, ATV-5 , is scheduled to lift off at 23:47 UTC on 29 July from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, atop an Ariane 5. ATV is the most complex spacecraft ever built in Europe, combining fully automatic rendezvous capabilities with advanced features to ensure human safety in orbit and on the ground. Since the US Space Shuttle retirement, ATV became the largest vehicle supplying the International Space Station. Thanks to the ATV programme, ESA has demonstrated it was able to master challenging technologies and if this may be the last ATV, it is just the beginning of ESA’s space transportation adventure. The ATV programme has helped generate key enabling technologies that will serve as a solid basis for future cooperative space transportation endeavours. ATV remains the 'smartest' automated vehicle ever used in space and its technical heritage is now key for future exploration missions. This video looks back on ATV history and explains what is its heritage. It includes interviews with Thomas Reiter, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations, and Alan Thirkettle, ESA Former ISS Programme Manager.