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US and Europe plan new spaceship

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    Administratus Extremus

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It would be good if from the outset, they built something which could ferry people too.


Europe and the US could be building a spaceship together later this decade.

It is one of the ideas being considered as Europe ponders the next evolution of its ATV orbital freighter.

The sophisticated robotic vessel is used to transport up to 7.5 tonnes of supplies to the space station, but only three more units are in production.

Europe is now looking to develop a derivative of the ship and a joint venture with the Americans on a future vessel is being discussed.

The European Space Agency's Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, said the new concept must leverage the capabilities of the existing vehicle, such as its automatic rendezvous and docking technology, but that its precise role was up for debate.

He wants the broad concept laid out by the autumn so that he can present it to Esa member states for consideration.

"We shall work with the US space agency in a way that I can present in October a proposal on a new vehicle that in my view should be derived from the ATV, but which for the first time will be embedded into a common vision between Nasa and Esa," he told BBC News.

"I cannot tell you what type of vehicle it will be because this is not something I can define myself; this is something we have to define together - Nasa and Esa.

"What I have in mind is a part that will be built by Europe and a part by the United States; and which together can make a transportation vehicle."

[Read the rest of this article at news.bbc.co.uk]

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The Automated Transfer Vehicle is the means by which Europe pays its way on the ISS

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Nom du Clavier

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It would be good if from the outset, they built something which could ferry people too.

They should just ask CCP to build them a Badger Mk II...
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This amount of awesome cannot be from concentrate.




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It would be good if from the outset, they built something which could ferry people too.

From listening to the commentators on the ATV-2 ISS docking video feed (I watched it live and haven't rewatched any of it, so my memory may be fuzzy, and the information may be a bit wrong), I gathered immediate problem was the need for suitable freighter from a European location, since the loss of the Shuttle program means only the Russian Progress vehicles are available for supplies. One launch vector and the need to ship all supplies to a single location for launches makes supply windows too infrequent, and possibly makes launches more expensive than they should be.

With the ATV essentially being a beefed up version of the Progress vehicle (better tech, more capacity, both also act as simple waste disposal, both use the same docking hook system), I think they just aimed to get it up, tested and working quickly, so they could get supplies in asap and correct the ISS orbit while they were at it. During and after the ATV-2 docking sequence they were talking about cargo retrieval and personnel transport designs, so it seemed to me to have been under consideration for a while already.

Might work out better this way in the long run, since they can iterate through and test fewer problems at a time, and the resulting people carrier should be pretty reliable.

Curious to see what comes out of discussions with NASA though.
For everyone's sake, watch this video

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