Automated Transfer Vehicle

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A crewless supply ship for the International Space Station (ISS), built by the European Space Agency. The cylindrical ATV, 10.3 m long and 4.5 m in diameter, with X-shaped solar arrays, can ferry 7.5 tonnes of cargo at a time to the ISS from its launch site at Kourou, French Guiana. Astronauts aboard the ISS will be able to enter the pressurized cargo section of the ATV, while its engines will be used to adjust the station's orbit. Each ATV will remain docked with the ISS for up to six months before undocking and burning up in the Earth's atmosphere, taking with it up to 6.5 tonnes of Station waste. The ATV is due to enter service in 2006. At least seven ATVs will be built, making annual trips to the ISS.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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