Launch unmanned cargo ship carrying on board, fuel, water, oxygen, air and dry cargo, scheduled for March 9. This has already become the third ship was named Edoardo Amaldi, in honor of the Italian nuclear physicist.
Since arriving at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, in August last year, the spacecraft took a series of intensive preparatory procedures. He will be ready to fly to the International Space Station next month. The ship will be launched on March 9 by a powerful rocket Ariane 5 EC. Automated docking with the station will be held on March 19 and will remain attached to the end of August.
"September and October we spent on test systems, preparation for loading dry cargo that was delivered from Europe and NASA, and the assembly of individual components, such as folding solar panel, which arrived in a disassembled state. By mid-December, combines two main parts of the Edoardo Amaldi and he finally looked like a real spaceship, "- said Charlotte Beskou running start.
In January, have been carried out delicate fueling operations. "By the end of last week, we have shipped 5.4 tons of fuel, which will be applied at the station to control the height, plus 860 pounds of fuel exclusively for the Russian segment of the station. We also downloaded the air and oxygen." During the remaining time will be made more loading 545 pounds of payload.
In parallel, the control center in France conducted a comprehensive simulation to prepare engineers and operators for all possible situations and provide any surprises.
"We practice every possible situation. For example, what if the dock did not go according to plan and we suddenly lost our main flight control computer," - said Jean-Michel Bois, head of the ESA office in Toulouse.
"Planned and other exercises involving the station control centers in Houston and Moscow. By the beginning of March, we’ll be ready for the morning start and a smooth flight to the station."