Alenia Spazio has signed a collaboration agreement with Russia's RSC-Energia space company for work on the European Space Agency's Automatic Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for the International Space Station (ISS).

Energia will supply Alenia with docking hardware and related avionics systems for the ATV. Alenia, which is a major contractor on the ATV programme, is mainly responsible for developing and constructing the ATV's Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) and thermal control systems.

The ICC comprises fuel tanks and a pressurised payload module equipped with an environmental control system for the ISS crew.

The first of nine ATVs are due to be launched aboard an Ariane 5 booster in 2003, with the final launch planned for 2014. The ATV will dock automatically to the ISS, delivering cargo and fuel. It will then undock from the space station, fire its retro rockets and make a destructive re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

Source: Flight International