ESA's ATV cargo spacecraft was built and flown as part of ESA's contribution to the ISS operating cost. This program has ended.

What has replaced it? Has ESA's financial contribution increased, or is ESA supplying new/different hardware for the station?

  • $\begingroup$ I’m confused by the question - are we just ignoring the Columbus module? That’s a pretty large “contribution to ISS.” $\endgroup$
    – JPattarini
    Jul 28, 2019 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ I could have formulated that better: ATV was a contribution to the ISS operating cost. Columbus didn't replace that. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Jul 28, 2019 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


It's the Service Module for the Orion.

When this article was written in 2012 that was still being disputed internally, but it happened.

Five ATV flights pay off ESA's operating cost burden until 2017. With the space station program extended until the end of the decade, ESA now owes approximately 450 million euros, or about $600 million, to meet its commitments between 2017 and 2020.

ESA managers are consulting the agency's member states on the alternatives to pay their share of the station's operating costs. Officials expect representatives of the member states to decide on an option, or barter element, at a ministerial council meeting in November.

One option, tentatively favored by Germany but dismissed by Italian and French space officials, is to sign an agreement with NASA to supply a service module to the Orion crew capsule, or multipurpose crew vehicle. The service module would be based on the ATV's propulsion section.


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