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Second European ATV named after Johannes Kepler

File image of ESA's Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle. NASA image

PARIS (BNS): The European Space Agency’s second Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has been named after German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler. The second ATV is scheduled to take off to the space station in the middle of next year.

Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight said that they were proud that Europe's second ATV would carry the name of Johannes Kepler. “A world-renowned European scientist, his name reflects how Europe's role in human spaceflight and exploration is rooted in a long tradition of science and technological progress. The next ATV mission will be the confirmation of Europe's commitment to and interest in the ISS for the years to come as the first step in a global space exploration effort,” Pippo said.

Kepler (1571-1630) began his career as a teacher in Graz and later moved to Prague, where he worked with the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. He is popular for discovering the laws of planetary motion. Kepler's work contributed greatly to the scientific and technical progress of Europe and enabled space exploration.

It is a fitting tribute to the great astronomer as this year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of one of Kepler's most influential works, Astronomia Nova. The choice is commendable in the International Year of Astronomy.

ATV Johannes Kepler is currently under production at EADS Astrium in Bremen, Germany.

Last year’s flawless mission of the first ATV, named after French science fiction writer Jules Verne, demonstrated the spacecraft's key role in ISS logistics and operations.

On its first flight, Jules Verne delivered six tonnes of cargo to the ISS, including food, clothing, propellants, water and oxygen. It also contributed to ISS operations by performing regular re-boosts of the orbital complex and by removing 2.5 tonnes of waste at the end of its six-month mission.

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