The First Autonomous Ship Sent To The International Space Station Was Named After?
Answer: Jules Verne
In 2008, the European Space Agency made history by sending the first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to resupply the International Space Station.
In honor of the ship’s role in space exploration, it was named the Jules Verne ATV after the iconic 19th-century French sci-fi author. The craft was launched into low Earth orbit via the maiden flight of the Ariane 5ES carrier rocket, but did not immediately connect with the space station. In order to confirm that it was capable of the precise and autonomous maneuvering required of the mission, it spent three weeks in orbit undertaking various exercises before finally docking with the station.
The photo here shows the ISS crew inside the transfer vehicle holding first edition Jules Verne manuscripts that were sent along for the ride into space; a trip, endeavor, and destination we’re sure Verne himself would be thrilled to have witnessed.
Image courtesy of NASA.