ESA Launches ‘Albert Einstein’ Cargo Spacecraft to the Space Station

ESA used a little E=mc^2 and launched the Automated Transfer Vehicle-4 (ATV-4) resupply ship, named “Albert Einstein” in honor of the iconic physicist, famous for his handy little equation. Liftoff of the Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana occurred at 5:52 p.m. EDT (2152 GMT) on June 5, 2013. This is second-to-last of ESA’s five planned ISS resupply spacecraft; the first one launched 2008, and all have been named after scientists.

ATV-4 will take a leisurely 10 days to reach the station, with docking scheduled for June 15.

You can watch the launch video below.

The three previous ATVs were named for Jules Verne, Johannes Kepler and Edoardo Amaldi.

The 13-ton ATV-4 will deliver more than 7 tons of supplies to the station when it docks to the aft port of the Russian Zvezda service module a week from Saturday.

The cargo includes 5,465 pounds of dry cargo, experiment hardware and supplies, 1,896 pounds of propellant for transfer to the Zvezda service module, 5,688 pounds of propellant for reboost and debris avoidance maneuver capability, 1,257 pounds of water and 220 pounds of oxygen and air.

Before the ATV-4 arrives at the station, the Russian ISS Progress 51 cargo spacecraft will undock from the Zvezda port at 13:53 UTC (9:53 a.m. EDT), Tuesday, June 11.

6 Replies to “ESA Launches ‘Albert Einstein’ Cargo Spacecraft to the Space Station”

  1. Nancy,Nancy, Nancy, There was no E=MC squared used in this rocket launch unless Ariane has a little secret that they’re not letting the rest of us in on. It’s a rocket that oxidizes a compound to release a lot of pent up chemical energy, NOT a nuclear reaction that changes mass to energy. Yeah, I know, picky, picky, picky.

    1. But the equation also shows the equivalence between mass and energy (and how to transform mass to energy) and that no object with mass can ever go faster than the speed of light. Isn’t that what a launch is?

    2. Umm…. LSAGuy – did you forget this ATV’s namesake? It’s called the ‘Albert Einstein’. and what formula is he most noted for?

  2. On the subject of the ISS, I’ve never really had the chance to spot the ISS. It’s always cloudy, or too low for the hills around my house, or I forget to go check.

    Tonight, leaving for work at about 10:23pm from my home west of Pittsburgh I spied a bright star in a place there aren’t usually any stars. I could swear it was moving and after a few seconds was sure it was. It came from westish and headed northeast. It was easily as bright as Vega would be (that’s a guess) though its brightness did change some, and it went a little orange.

    I’ve long since hung up my “There are UFO’S!” hat, but this was outright weird behavior for a bright light in the sky. When I got in to work I looked up ISS flyovers and saw there was indeed one tonight. Is the ISS usually that bright? Good heavens!

    1. I’ve seen it many, many times. There’s an app and other services that will alert you when it is going over, what it’s elevation will be, and how bright it will be. It’ so bright at times, it can be seen before sunset and after sunrise.

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