Final European Resupply Cargo Ship Begins Its Journey To The Space Station

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The European Space Agency’s (ESA) 13-ton Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) cargo craft launched from ESA’s Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, July 29, beginning a two-week journey to the International Space Station to deliver some 7 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 40 crew. Dubbed the “Georges Lemaitre” after the 20th century Belgian astronomer credited with proposing the theory of the expansion of the universe, the resupply vehicle is scheduled to dock automatically to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on Aug. 12. This is the fifth and final European ATV to service the station. The first flight of an ATV took place in March 2008. The “Georges Lemaitre” will remain docked to the station until late January 2015 when it will depart and be deorbited to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.