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Europe's ATV-2 space freighter heads to ISS

RIA Novosti

07:44 17/02/2011 MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - The European Space Agency's said it launched a second Automated Transfer Vehicle, the Johannes Kepler, from the Kourou space center in French Guiana on Thursday.

The Ariane 5 carrier rocket carrying the spacecraft lifted off at 00:50 Moscow time (21:50 GMT Wednesday).

Johannes Kepler is expected to dock directly and autonomously with Russia's Zvezda module to deliver cargo, propellant and oxygen to the orbital station. It can carry about 7.5 metric tons of payload.

The first ATV, Jules Verne, was launched in 2008, delivering about 4.5 metric tons of food, fuel and equipment to the ISS. It also performed practice demonstration manoeuvres during its mission.

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