Europe has shut down the production line producing their ATV cargo craft for ISS.

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Is this good or bad news? Europe has shut down the production line producing their ATV cargo craft for ISS.

Confronted by parts obsolescence and waning political support, the European Space Agency has shut down subsystem production lines for the Automated Transfer Vehicle as member states debate how they will contribute to future international space exploration efforts, according to top spaceflight officials.

ESA has launched three of the five ATVs it agreed to launch, with the remaining two scheduled in 2013 and 2014. What happens after that remains unclear. It seems from the article the European partners don’t seem interested in upgrading the ATV, and instead seem willing to let the as-yet untried U.S. commercial companies carry the load.

Commercial flights by U.S. spacecraft will make up the rest of the lost capacity with the end of the ATV program.

The pressure continues to build on a successful Falcon 9/Dragon flight on April 30.



  • wodun

    It would be reassuring if ESA announced plans to help supply the ISS until 2020 or whenever the new expiration date is.

  • Kelly Starks

    By discontinuing this without a replacement inwork, they are suggesting they are withdrawing support from the ISS. Definatly a bad – unless at best you sell EELVs and intend to get nito the market. As a taxpayer, more cost dumped ou us adn the Russians but the Russians look to be about to phase out (or shut down) their launch support.

  • Joe2

    I would say bad. Yet another step in ending the ISS early and love it or not it is the last real part of the “American” Space Program (the parenthesis around American is because we are now totally dependent on others to keep it flying – as this article proves).

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