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    MOSCOW, MARCH 31. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- In the year end, the new European transport spaceship Jules Verne (ATV) will go on a maiden voyage to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled for December 2004, says the official site of the Centre for Service of Objects of the Overland Space Infrastructure.

    It will be the first of the eight heavy transport ships of the European Space Agency built to service the ISS station by the EADS concern.

    The space truck, weighing 20.75 tonnes, will be put into orbit by the Ariane-5 carrier rocket. In the first cruise, the Jules Verne will bring to the ISS about seven tonnes of cargoes, including food for the crew, research equipment, water and fuel for the ISS engines. Disposable modules of the space truck will be used as waste bins.

    The engines of the ATV, docked to the ISS, will be used to elevate its orbit. Now the orbit is corrected by the power plants of the Russian Progress ships.

    The European space trucks will be docked to the ISS from the Russian service module Zvezda side and be equipped with Russian standard docking ports and fuel pumping systems.

    On Wednesday, at the pre-flight news conference Gennadi Padalka, crew commander of the ninth expedition to the ISS, said that during the first of the two planned spacewalks he and his American colleague Michael Fincke will fix special laser reflectors for the European space truck on the ISS surface.

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