Automatic Cargo Ship (AGC-3) of the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched from a base in South America. Huge cargo spaceship went to the International Space Station today (March 23). Total travel time to the orbital outpost, in order to deliver cargo, take 5 days.
It was launched a carrier rocket Ariane 5 from the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. After a brief light show, the rocket went through the clouds and flew into orbit. 13-ton cargo ship will deliver 7.2 tons of resources, including food, water, clothing, experiments and fuel for the space station. ESA representatives reported that the drone AGK-3 will deliver to the station the heaviest burden of all the unmanned cargo ships in history.
According to the schedule, the ship is due to arrive at the space station on March 28.
"This is only the beginning of a very long journey, during which Edoardo Amaldi will stay in space for about five months," - said the head of ESA, Jean-Jacques Dordeyn after a successful launch. "This is a good start. Very good start."
PCA-3 was named "Edoardo Amaldi" in honor of the famous Italian physicist and pioneer of space flight, which was directly involved in the creation of the European Space Agency. Amaldi, among other things, is one of the founding fathers of the CERN particle physics laboratory on the border between Switzerland and France, which is located in the Large Hadron Collider.
Dimensions of ship is 10.7 meters long and 4.5 meters wide. Disposable PCA is designed for automatic docking with the Zvezda module on the Russian portion of the International Space Station.
After docking, cargo ships remain attached to the station for six months, after which they are packed and sent to waste combustion during re-entry into the atmosphere.
European AGK are part of an international flotilla of disposable cargo ships that carry the necessary equipment and supplies to the space station. Russia’s unmanned Progress spacecraft and the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, also regularly deliver cargo to the ISS.
Become a good tradition to call PCA after historical figures who influenced the astronomy and space research. The first PCA was named Jules Verne, and made his flight to the station in 2008. PCA-2 has been named Johannes Kepler was launched in 2011.
The following two AHAs will be named in honor of Albert Einstein and Georges Lemaitre, and will be launched to the International Space Station in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Since last year, from this base production started launching Russian Soyuz rockets. "We are a great cosmic power" - said Dordeyn. "I can confidently declare it."