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Friday, 28-Jan-2011 9:14PM United Press International
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PARIS, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- European Space Agency officials say the fuel and most of the cargo is loaded on a spacecraft preparing to launch to the International Space Station.

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The Johnnes Kepler Automated Transfer Vehicle is being prepared for a Feb. 15 launch by an Ariane 5 rocket from the ESA's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, an ESA release reported Friday.

After a planned eight days of orbital maneuvers that will synchronize the ATV's orbit with that of the International Space Station, the unmanned cargo vessel will dock Feb. 23.

"There is an incredible amount of hard work being done in these final weeks by teams from ESA, 1/8French space agency3/8 CNES, Arianespace and our partners", Nico Dettmann, ESA's ATV program manager, said. "It's gratifying to see such dedication to making Johannes Kepler ready for flight."

The mission control team conducted a simulation of the critical launch and early orbit phase Friday, ESA officials said.

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