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ATV-3 ‘Edoardo Amaldi’: ready for the journey

6.6-tonne payload of ISS supplies

The ATV ‘Edoardo Amaldi’, designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space, is the third unmanned European transport spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS).

Named after the renowned Italian physicist Edoardo Amaldi (1908–1989), the ATV-3 is due to be launched on 23 March by a specially adapted Ariane 5 from the European Spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana. Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for developing and building the ATV as industrial prime contractor to the European Space Agency (ESA).

The ATV is Europe’s contribution towards servicing the ISS. In addition to transporting fuel, gas, general supplies and scientific equipment, the ATV will also assist in maintaining the Space Station’s attitude control after docking.

The ATV-3’s 6.6-tonne payload of ISS supplies ranges from toothbrushes to scientific experiments.

It is the biggest, most complex spacecraft ever developed and built in Europe. The 20-tonne space freighter is so precise that it can dock completely autonomously with the ISS at a speed of 28,000 km/h and with an accuracy of better than 10 cm.

Airbus Defence and Space is also prime contractor for the Ariane 5 launcher, the reliable European workhorse designed and built for a large variety of heavy lift missions.