Europe's ATV space truck has blasted off from the Kourou base in French Guiana. The robotic truck is heading to the International Space Station with new supplies of food, water, air, and fuel. This ATV is the third such craft to be sent to the station by Esa, and has been dubbed Edoardo Amaldi in honour of the 20th Century Italian physicist. The trucks are fraction of the trade agreement that Esa has with its international partners on the ISS project.
The current flier, Dutchman Andre Kuipers, will be on hand at the ISS to help unpack the truck when it arrives. Europe must next work out how to meet its subscription up to 2020, the current planned limit for operations on the orbiting stage. ATV has a programmatic responsibility to pay the ISS process compulsion to the Americans.