"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Sunday, March 09, 2008

European "Jules Verne " Space Freighter successfully launched

The Jules Verne, the European unmanned space freighter lifted off successfully with 5 tons of freight on top of an Ariane V rocket from the jungle near Kourou, French Guiana, at 5:03 p.m. MEZ.6 minutes from the lift off the main engine was blown away and the Bremen built ATV (Automated transport Vehicle) went into an orbit between 140 and 260 kilometers high.

This is scheduled to dock with the Russian Space station element on April 3rd after testing guidance and navigation systems en route.

On Tuesday the shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a 16 day mission to the space station with seven astronauts trained to deliver the first piece of a Japanese science module and a Canadian robotic device.

During the Endeavour mission, the Jules Verne will maintain a separation of about 1,200 miles behind the station. When Endeavour returns to earth , European ground controls teams will conduct a series of rendezvous tests before authorizing a linkup with the Jules Verne.

The European Space Agency has plans for the launch of 5 space freighters, each as big as a London double-decker bus, by 2015. The new freighter carries less cargo than a shuttle but more than three times as much payload as a Russian Progress supply ship.

Its cargo-carrying capacity will help fill the supply gap resulting from the Bush administration decision to cease space shuttle missions in 2010.

The ATV will dock with the Station's Zvezda Service Module. It carries a 7.4 tonne payload that includes water, oxygen and propellant. Four tonnes of the propellant will be used to reboost the Station at regular intervals; another 860 kg will be transferred to the Station for attitude and orbit control. ATV will be a separate transfer vehicle with avionics and propulsion capability. Controlled from the ATV Control Centre in Europe, its docking manoeuvres will be coordinated with the Space Station Control Center at Houston and with the Russian control centre near Moscow.

More information and pics at German Aerospace Centre

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