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Last ATV lifts off to supply International Space Station

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Ariane 5 is shown at the Spaceport with its heavyweight payload of ATV Georges Lemaître. Photo: Arianespace

KOUROU, FRENCH GUIANA (BNS): The European Space Agency's fifth and last Automated Transfer Vehicle, the ATV Georges Lemaître, was successfully launched from the Guiana Space Centre.

Georges Lemaître is the fifth ATV built and launched by ESA as part of Europe's contribution to cover the operational costs for using the Space Station.

Named after the Belgian scientist who formulated the Big Bang Theory, ATV Georges Lemaître lifted off at 20:47 local time on Wednesday on an Ariane 5 ES rocket, ESA said in a ststement.

On its 60th successful launch in a row since 2003, Arianespace set a new record for payload performance: weighing in at 20,300 kg the ATV-5 is the largest payload ever lofted into orbit by Europe.

The cargo includes complex scientific hardware, such as the electromagnetic levitator for experiments to improve industrial casting processes.

The unit will allow finer metal castings and more precise measurements than can be obtained on Earth, where readings are affected by gravity, it said.

ATV Georges Lemaître is due to dock with the Station on 12 August and will remain attached for up to six months before leaving with waste material for destruction along with the spaceship during atmospheric re-entry.

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ESA  Europe  Space  ATV  ISS  
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