On February 16, 2011 at 21:50 UTC the Ariane 5 rocket-carrier was launched from the Kourou space center in French Guiana.
photo by ESA
The rocket orbited ESA’s second Automated Transfer Vehicle, Johannes Kepler. The unmanned supply spacecraft is expected to dock directly and autonomously with the Russian Zvezda module of the ISS to deliver cargo, propellant and oxygen to the orbital station.
During the coming week, ATV-2 will adjust its orbit to rendezvous with the ISS for docking on February 24.
ESA's second Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has been named Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a German astronomer and mathematician who is best known for discovering the laws of planetary motion. Starting his career as a teacher in Graz, he later moved to Prague where he worked with the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Kepler's work contributed greatly to the scientific and technical progress of Europe and enabled space exploration today.