Space ship brings special cargo for astronaut

Space ship brings special cargo for astronaut
A cargo compartment on the ATV. Photo: ESA
The last European space freighter blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, carrying a special treat for the station’s German astronaut. The launch of the German-built supply ship marks the end of an era.

The cargo ship called Georges Lemaitre was launched overnight on Wednesday from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket.

It should dock at the ISS 400 kilometres above the Earth on August 12th.

Its 6.6-tonne load will bring fresh food, supplies and equipment for experiments to the six ISS crew members, including German astronaut Alexander Gerst.

He requested Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), lentils, sausages and a Semolina pudding.

Four European space freighters have carried supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) but this will be the last, drawing the programme to a close.

Volker Schmid, from the German Space Agency (the DLR), sees the end of an era with the mission of the Georges Lemaitre. "All Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) missions so far have gone well; the complex transporters fulfilled their function, carrying supplies to the station."

The Europeans will instead contribute to the ISS by developing the European Service Module, designed to support and power the NASA Orion spacecraft. 

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