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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008, 19:42 GMT
Controllers park space freighter
By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News

'JULES VERNE' STATISTICS
ATV artist's impression (Astrium)
Total cargo: 4,860kg
1,340kg - 'dry' supplies
20kg - air (oxygen/nitrogen)
280kg - drinking water
860kg - propellant for ISS
2,360kg - re-boost propellant
The ship itself has 3,490kg of propellant for rendezvous, re-boost and de-orbit manoeuvres

Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has been parked up in front of the International Space Station (ISS).

The cargo truck is about 2,000km from the platform and will wait until the current shuttle mission has left the ISS before moving in to dock.

The international partners on the station project will now review the ATV's performance before giving the green light for docking rehearsals.

The demonstrations are planned for 29 and 31 March; attachment for 3 April.

The ATV - the biggest, most sophisticated spacecraft yet flown by the European Space Agency - passed just 30km under the ISS as it moved to the parking position.

A camera on the ISS's robotic arm took a picture but it is understood the magnification was set too low to get a decent image.

Controllers say the 20-tonne vehicle has met all its objectives so far. These have included a practice emergency stop and reverse. The so-called Collision Avoidance Manoeuvre is what the truck will initiate if it suffers a major failure just as it is about to dock with the space station.

The ATV, dubbed Jules Verne for this flight, must wait until shuttle Endeavour has finished its mission to the ISS.

Both spacecraft make use of the US space agency's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) to speak to the ground and controllers do not want any conflicts.

The freighter, which was launched on 9 March, is carrying just under five tonnes of supplies for the station's astronauts.

ATV at the ISS (Astrium)


Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk



SEE ALSO
Space truck does emergency drill
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Space freighter's propulsion fix
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Space truck orbits despite fault
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Huge space truck races into orbit
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European spaceport's sky-high ambition
07 Mar 08 |  Science/Nature
A key moment in Europe's space journey
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Space cargo ship near completion
30 Jan 08 |  Science/Nature
Europe's 'big bird' nears flight
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Europe prepares huge space truck
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