PARIS, 5 Nov. 2013. Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) number 4, referred to as ATV-4 or “Albert Einstein,” designed and built by Astrium, has completed its mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
ATV-4, which docked to the ISS just five months ago, has removed and destroyed a record roughly 2 tonnes (4,409 pounds) of potentially destructive waste and debris in space. The ATV-4 provided the ISS crew with fuel and a full range of new goods, from food to parts destined to ISS maintenance and onboard scientific experiments, prior to removing and destroying waste from the ISS.
ATV-4 performed a controlled destructive re-entry into the atmosphere, after undocking from the ISS on 28 October, bringing the five-month mission to its conclusion.
“With this successful mission end, Astrium and its European partners have once again demonstrated that the multiple cargo loading capability and flexibility of ATVs makes them readily adaptable to evolving cargo and ISS needs,” says a spokesperson. “ATV-4 displayed an unprecedented level of accuracy in docking compared to previous ATV missions, and brought an exceptionally wide variety of cargo – 1400 items – to the ISS.”
The ATV-4 mission, owned and operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), set off on 5 June from French Guyana, where Arianespace launched the space vehicle from an Ariane 5 ES (V213).
ATV-4 set a new record as the heaviest spacecraft (20,218 kilograms) ever lifted by any Ariane launcher.
Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, a global aerospace, defense, and related services company. The Group includes Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian, and Eurocopter.