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PARIS, June 6 (Itar-Tass) - The automatic transfer vehicle ATV-4 that was launched from the Kourou spaceport (French Guiana) on Thursday, has successfully been placed into near-Earth orbit. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the cargo spaceship separated from the launch vehicle on schedule.
The European cargo spacecraft ATV-4, named in honour of Albert Einstein, to deliver to the International Space Station (ISS) fuel, oxygen, water and food, as well as personal things for the crewmembers. The spacecraft’s docking to the ISS is scheduled for June 15. It will be made by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano who will control the process from the Zvezda module. It is noteworthy that Parmitano arrived at the ISS just a week ago - on May 29.
The total mass of Albert Einstein that has been placed in orbit by the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, reaches 20.2 tonnes, payload - 6.5 tonnes. Thus ATV-4 has become the heaviest cargo spacecraft, launched into space by the Ariane 5 rocket. The mass of its predecessor, named after Italian physicist Edoardo Amaldi, was half a tonne less.
Launches of the European automated transfer vehicles - ATV are carried out since 2008. Earlier, three cargo spaceships of this type - Jules Verne (2008), Johannes Kepler (2011) and Edoardo Amaldi (2012) performed successful flights to the ISS. In May, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said that the last European cargo spacecraft of the ATV series will be launched to the ISS in June 2014. The ATV-5 spacecraft will be named in honour of the Belgian scientist Georges Lemaitre, who was one of the authors of the Big Bang theory.