Technicians at the European Space Agency's spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana have started integrating ESA's third Automated Transfer Vehicle robotic supply ship - named Edoardo Amaldi after the late Italian physicist considered a pioneer of European spaceflight - with the Ariane 5 ES rocket that will carry it to the International Space Station.
Launch is scheduled for 9 March, with docking to the ISS expected on the 19th. The spacecraft arrived in Kourou in August, and has been assembled, fuelled and loaded with most of its cargo on site.
The cargo includes some 2.5t of dry cargo, water and oxygen, in addition to 5.4t of fuel to power itself and "re-boost" the Station to its full altitude. Another 860kg (1,900lb) of fuel will be carried for transfer to the Russian part of the Station.
ATV-3 will remain attached to the ISS until the end of August when, like its two predecessors, it will undock and de-orbit, burning up in the atmosphere.