Image Credit & Copyright: ESA/CNES/Arianespace ATV-5 Mission Poster: CLICK image for larger view and look below for mission information and more links than you will ever need to include a few to stream the launch live.

Tuesday, July 29th at 2344 UTC (1944 EDT) Arianespace will be launching the massive and beautiful Ariane 5 ES Rocket (designated Flight VA219) with the fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5), named after Belgian physicist, Georges Lemaitre, to resupply the ISS. Launch will take place from Launch Site ELA-3 at the Arianespace Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The ISS is a busy place as Progress M-23M (P-55) undocked on July 21 leaving Soyuz-38 (TMA-12M), Soyuz 39 (TMA-13m), Cygnus S.S. Janice Voss and Progress M-24M (P-56) currently at station. Once docked to the Zvezda “Star” service Module (DOS-8) of the ISS it will remain there for roughly six months before being packed with trash and incinerated in Earth’s atmosphere.

This is a bitter sweet moment personally as we will now have one-less spacecraft available to resupply the International Space Station (ISS). What a great and successful mission the ATV had had as it’s always been a much welcomed sight to the orbiting inhabitants off of the ISS. THANK YOU ESA FOR A GREAT MISSION SUCCESSFULLY EXECUTED!

Currently five (5) spacecraft are tasked with resupply; the Russian Progress (and Soyuz capsule for human delivery), SpaceX Dragon, Orbital Sciences Antares, European Space Agency (ESA) Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) or “Kounotori” which means “White Stork”.

Interesting to note, ESA’s ATV and Russia’s Progress (and Soyuz) are the only spacecraft with docking ability at the ISS. At this time, all other supply vehicles must be captured with the Canadarm2 and berthed to its respective module.

For cargo return, SpaceX’s Dragon (and Soyuz for human flight) is the only way to return items from the ISS as it’s the only spacecraft with the ability to survive reentry to Earth’s atmosphere. The other four options end their lives packed with waste and incinerated in the heat of reentry.

JAXA’s HTV cargo ship is also down to its last few flights with three of its seven flights remaining with flights scheduled in each of the next three years (2015, 2016 & 2017). With that, we will then be down to only three resupply options for station. There is however, a proposed iteration of the HTV called the HTV-R which would be able to survive reentry and return items from the ISS. If this takes shape it’s likely that the HTV name will continue on at the ISS.

Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket is a 2-stage expendable launch vehicle that comes in two variants (ECA & ES) and carries payloads weighing more than 10 metric tons to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) and over 20 metric tons into low-Earth orbit (LEO).

Ariane 5 ECA is the heavy-lift workhorse for missions to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), and usually carries two satellite payloads. The Ariane 5 ES is tailored for low-Earth orbit missions with the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) – a resupply spacecraft for the International Space Station that weighs more than 19,000 kg at liftoff. This Ariane 5 version also is capable of lofting satellites for Europe’s new Galileo space-based navigation system. The primary difference from the Ariane 5 ECA configuration is the use of a storable propellant upper stage, which can perform multiple burns to deploy payloads into the desired orbit.

ARIANE 5 ECA & ES CONFIGURATION EXPLAINED: ARIANE5 ECA & ES = Heavy lift rocket that stands 53m (173.8ft) tall and is 5.4m (17.7ft) in diameter and is equipped with two solid rocket boosters.

PAYLOAD FAIRING = The main payload fairing is a 2-shell fairing that’s 5.4 m. (17.7 ft.) in diameter and 20 m. (65.6 ft.) in length. Roughly 3 minutes and 100 km after liftoff the shells are pyrotechnically jettisoned. Inside the fairing of the ECA configuration is the structure that accommodates two satellites called “Systeme de Lancement Double Ariane 5” or SYLDA 5.

SECOND STAGE (For the ECA configuration) = Also called the Cryogenic Upper Stage or “Etage Superieur Cryotechnique” (ESC-A) is 5.4m (17.7ft) in diameter by 4.7m (15.4ft) in length. It’s powered by a single HM7B engine that burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen (LOX/LH2) creating 14,000lb 6.5 t of thrust. Burn time for the second stage varies depending on the mission but can operate for around 945 seconds. The second stage also houses the Vehicle Equipment Bay (VEB-C) or “The Brain” which controls the entire vehicle autonomously and also transmits flight data back to the ground.

SECOND STAGE (For the ES configuration) = “Etage Propergols Stockables” (EPS) is 3.9 m (12.8 ft) in diameter by 3.35 m (11 ft) in length. It differs from the ECA configuration because it is not cryogenic, meaning that it carries storable propellants. It’s powered by a single Aestus engine that burns monomethylhdrazine & nitrogen tetroxide creating 14,000lb 6.5 t of thrust. The second stage for this configuration can be reignited many times to suit the mission’s needs. The second stage also houses the Vehicle Equipment Bay (VEB-C) or “The Brain” which controls the entire vehicle autonomously and also transmits flight data back to the ground.

SOLID ROCKET BOOSTERS = 2 expendable SRBs known as Etage dAcceleration a Poudre or (EAPs) are attached to the Ariane 5 and they provide about 90% of the thrust at liftoff which equates to about 1200 t of thrust. They each stand 31.6m (103.7ft) tall and are 3m (10ft) in diameter. They are each powered by a single engine that burns solid fuel (Ammonium Perchlorate, Aluminum Powder and Polybutadiene); burn time is 135 seconds.

MAIN CORE STAGE (1st Stage) = The Core Stage, known as Etage Principal Cryotechnique or (EPC) stands 30 m. (98.4 ft.) high and has a diameter of 5.4m (17.7 ft.). It’s powered by a single Vulcan-2 engine which provides 136 t of thrust. It burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen (LOX/LH2) and burns for 540 seconds.


Live Streaming Launch: http://www.arianespace.tv/

Arianespace Livestream: http://www.livestream.com/arianespace

European Space Agency (ESA) Space In Videos: http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/esalive

European Space Agency (ESA) Livestream: http://www.livestream.com/eurospaceagency

CNES website for launch: http://www.cnes.fr/web/CNES-en/10082-follow-ariane-launch-live.php

MISSION DATA LINKS: VA-219 mission information: http://www.arianespace.com/news-mission-update/2014/1185.asp

VA-219 Press Kit: http://www.arianespace.com/images/launch-kits/launch-kit-pdf-eng/VA219-launchkit-EN1.pdf

ESA ATV Blog: http://blogs.esa.int/atv/

VA-219 Press Kit Poster: http://www.arianespace.com/images/launch-kits/poster-pics/VA219-launchkit-cover.pdf

Spaceflight 101 data on VA-216: http://www.spaceflight101.com/ariane-5-va216-launch-updates.html

ESA VA-219 ATV5 Mission Brochure: http://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimedia/publications/ATV_brochure_EN/

NASA current ISS layout: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/


Arianespace Homepage: http://www.arianespace.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Arianespace

Instagram: http://instagram.com/arianespace

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arianespace/

You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/arianespace


European Space Agency (ESA) homepage: http://www.esa.int/ESA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/esa

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+EuropeanSpaceAgency

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/europeanspaceagency/sets/

You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ESA


Ariane 5 information and data sheets: http://www.arianespace.com/launch-services-ariane5/ariane-5-intro.asp

Ariane 5 User’s Manual: http://www.arianespace.com/launch-services-ariane5/Ariane-5-User’s-Manual.asp

Ariane 5 Brochure: http://www.arianespace.com/launch-services/Flyers/Flyer-Ariane-5-2011.pdf

ESA Ariane 5 vehicle data page: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Launchers/Launch_vehicles/Ariane_5

Spaceflight 101 Ariane 5 ECA data: http://www.spaceflight101.com/ariane-5-eca.html

Spaceflight 101 Ariane 5 ES data: http://www.spaceflight101.com/ariane-5-es.html

Ariane 5 launch site: http://www.arianespace.com/spaceport-ariane5/overview.asp

Spaceport French Guiana: http://www.arianespace.com/spaceport-intro/overview.asp

ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle page: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/ATV

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