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ESA’s Fourth ATV Named After Einstein

May 27, 2011

The European Space Agency (ESA) said on Thursday that the fourth of Europe’s robot freighters has been named after Albert Einstein.

The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is one of Europe’s main contributions to the International Space Station (ISS) and is due to launch in early 2013.

ESA said the ATV will launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket and then carry the rest of its weight to the ISS under its own power, carrying food and other essentials to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft will then be undocked from the ISS and sent back to Earth for it to burn up in the atmosphere.

The first ATV flew in 2008 and was named after 19th-century French trailblazer Jules Verne.

The second was named after Johannes Kepler, the German mathematician of the Age of Enlightenment.  This ATV is currently hooked up to the ISS.

ESA said in a press release the third ship has been named after 20th-century Italian physicists Edoardo Amaldi and is due for launch in February 2012.

Image Caption: Albert Einstein photographed in 1921 while lecturing in Vienna. Credits: Albert Einstein Archives / Ferdinand Schmutzer

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