Aerospatiale has been awarded a $470 million contract from the European Space Agency to proceed with the development of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for the International Space Station (ISS). Leading subcontractors are Alenia Spazio, Matra Marconi Space and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace. The 10m-long, 4.57m- wide ATV will also include Russian Space Agency/ Energia components. The logistics vehicle will be launched by uprated Ariane 5 vehicles, starting in about 2003, to help support ISS operations during 13 flights until 2013. The ATV - which will dock with the Russian Service Module - will supply cargo, refuel the station, assist in orbital re-boosting and attitude control corrections and finally be loaded with waste, which will be destroyed during re-entry of each vehicle at the end of its six-month stay at the ISS.

Source: Flight International