back to article ESA's space truck heads for ISS

The European Space Agency's "Jules Verne" Automated Transfer Vehicle yesterday hitched a lift on a specially-adapted Ariane 5ES rocket from the Guiana Space Centre en route to "re-supply and re-boost" the International Space Station (ISS). Liftoff of the Ariane 5 ES-ATV launcher. Pic: ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE - Activité Photo …


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  1. Peter Hawkins

    What a contrast..

    ...France, Germany and the rest of ESA, produce technology like this and the U.K. can't find a couple of mil' to run Jodrell Bank properly.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Peter, I completely agree. We have the talent but lack the government vision and backing. Why doesn't the government back anything to put Britain on the cutting edge? Perhaps if immigrants express a wish to be housed on the ISS then we'd start to see some money going towards space missions!

    Did the ESA remember to xray the space truck before launching it? The ISS may receive a few unwelcome visitors huddled between crates of food. "Hello? England? Which way to benefits please?"

  3. Anonymous Coward

    re: What a contrast..

    Paying to wipe the noses and powder the behinds of Fifty million some-odd people is bound to cut into the budget a little bit...

  4. Anonymous Coward


    If you were able to see how ESA is run internally, you'd be quite relieved that the UK invests as little as a member state can get away with.

  5. The Other Steve


    It can't re enter the atmosphere. So every time you want to make a delivery, you have to build a new one.

    Who thought that was a good idea ?

  6. Seán


    Total lift capacity is 21 tons, ATV currently weighs 20 tons. Heat shields, control systems seating and overall reinforcement of the ship to withstand reentry plus chute systems etc would eat the payload capacity. They should make it out of plastic.

  7. Robbie

    Burn baby Burn!

    Its not supposed to come back down. They fill it up with garbage and burn it up on reentry.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Don't blame the government.

    "Perhaps if immigrants express a wish to be housed on the ISS then we'd start to see some money going towards space missions!"

    That's right - blame immigrants.

  9. Colin

    wasted space ?

    only 5 tonnes of useful stuff in a 20 tonne vehicle ? so it carries 15 tonnes of useless stuff ?

  10. Tom

    Not from these parts then AC

    Or you one the ultra-PC brigade? Because if you could perhaps peer over your massive indignacy, the poster was blaming the government. Its not immigrants fault our government mollycoddles them.

    I noted you saved me the effort of gracing you with a paris icon.

  11. Terry

    et al

    It doesn't get reused because that technology is a dead end. Most everyone knew this when the shuttle was proposed. But, it was A) a way to keep the US in a manned space program B) a technological demonstrator so maybe in a few generations (of vehicles not people) something workable could be fielded. Alas with chemical rockets B can never be achieved, the numbers just aren't there, not even close.

    As for "A", shuttle which itself was nearly "design compromised" out of existence was the best that could be done as the Vietnam war was sucking up every dime of federal money. In 20 years when we are no closer to a moon return or mars than we are today, people will quote the Iraq war (and whatever the next one is: Sudan anyone?) as contributory reason.


    The UK could probably have gone solo to mars if they would have spent the money blown on CCTVing the entire land mass of Britain on it. But then we wouldn't have the cool pictures of all the illegals roaming the streets, blowing up subways, and making a general nuisance of themselves.


    That said, I'm not at all sure governments are the best approach to getting into space. The problem is that they suck up so much resources no one else has anything to spend on it. Counterpoint: it would be remiss not to point out that the mindless shells of human flotsam running pretty much all of western businesses could never shoulder the burden of having an original thought or vision to carry it forward. So, overall, we're gonna be earthbound for a LONG LONG time.

  12. Bill Fresher


    "the poster was blaming the government. Its not immigrants fault our government mollycoddles them."

    No, AC was blaming the immigrants for not expressing a wish to be blasted into space.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm that AC...

    I was blaming the government for prioritising immigrants above the interests of the UK as a whole. An open borders & "immigration benefits the UK" policy increases the risk to national security and is drain on our resources. (Only now are they introducing a watered down Australian points system).

    Imagine if all that money went into science. British brains could have invented new things that could have benefited the whole world. But now we will never know. Plus a third of uni science departments have shut down in the last 10 years so this is probably the end to encouraging Brits to study science too. :-(

    But good luck to the ESA. The space truck may seem rather dull but it will keep the ISS alive for many more years and is the first fully automated docking system, just like Elite (from my BBC Micro days!). The next step is to invent jump engines! ;-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Space and money

    The UK government's problem, going beyond any specific party that happens to be in power at the moment, is that they're accountants. All that they've spent money on lately are things that don't benefit or improve any of us, let alone represent any vision of the future, but would you just look at our lovely databases? The way science has been hit for decades has been, and continues to be a case study in how to perform a labotomy on yourself. Even our defence technology firms are kept afloat by foreign investment. No one here wants to be involved with metal bashers (like acorn, psion ..).

    From some statistics I've seen, the entire cost of the ISS to all the partners is about the same as the amount Northern Rock cost our visionary, forward-looking and inspiring government in the space of four months. While that may not include costs like ESA space trucks or that the government wants its money back (funding tech also generates money and associated tax returns), that's a sense of perspective I think is illuminating. Until lately, I figured those sci fi shows that set their date as 2001, 2064, 2258 or such were about 1000 years premature, but my latest thoughts are that if we spent real money on it they'd be spot on, assuming physics would give a helping hand. We're lucky that Europe has countries in it like France and Germany to do some real work while we find more inventive ways to spy on ourselves and think small. In a few decades we (or rather, they; I'll have left.) may need to parasitise them like we have the US.

    As for immigrants, people have been blaming them for their problems for 4000 years, i'll not spend much time on that except to say that native americans and aboriginal australasians probably have a case.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    Who'd want to be involved in a project that blasts 270kg of water into space? Surely that should be 270kg of Newcastle Brown (or similar) - just as soon as the boffins have worked out how to recycle the alcohol.

  16. Waldo
    Thumb Up

    Tinkers in Spaaaayyyccceee.

    4.6 tonnes of useful payload .....

    Sounds like the Pikies have been there already. Useful? so they filled 50 Tesco carrier bags, stuffed it on the mini Toyota flat-bed, sorry, payload vehicle and hoped it would be,..... useful? LOL

    oh, I do love you Reg. :-)

    270kg of drinking water......

    Well someone will just p**s that against the wall "look how high I got - 250 Km" Yowsaa

    Seriously, I wish ESA well: A neat trick to dock at 28,000km/hr. I realy do hope that Europe can show the USA and Russia how to do a job well

    GOOD LUCK with the mission.

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