The robotic truck is heading to the International Space Station (ISS) with new supplies of food, water, air, and fuel.
It is also carrying experiments and spares for the high-flying astronaut outpost.
The ship's Ariane 5 carrier rocket left the ground at 04:34 GMT, with the flight to orbit taking 63 minutes.
At 20 tonnes, the ATV is the biggest ship servicing the station now that the US shuttles have been retired.
The Ariane placed the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) at an altitude of about 260km. The freighter will use its own thrusters to climb a further 130km to the ISS over the course of the next few days.
"This is the start of a long journey; there will be other critical phases, especially the rendezvous [with the ISS] that will take place during the night of the 28th and 29th, Paris time," said European Space Agency (Esa) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain.
Ground controllers received confirmation half-an-hour after the truck had separated from Ariane's upper-stage that its solar panels had been deployed, and that the onboard power systems were working.
This ATV is the third such craft to be sent to the station by Esa, and has been dubbed Edoardo Amaldi in honour of the 20th Century Italian physicist (a co-discoverer of slow neutrons, which made possible nuclear power).
Two previous vehicles have been flown, in 2008 and 2011.
The trucks are part of the barter arrangement that Esa has with its international partners on the ISS project.
Instead of handing over cash to cover station running costs, Europe has taken on the major responsibility of platform logistics.
In return, it gets residency rights for its astronauts - one individual to spend six months in orbit, every couple of years.
The current flier, Dutchman Andre Kuipers, will be on hand at the ISS to help unload the truck when it arrives.