The fifth and final European automated transfer vehicle (ATV) built by Astrium, called Georges Lemaître, is en route to the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

ATV-5 at Bremen. Credit: EADS

As the systems leader of a European consortium, Astrium, Europe’s leading and the world’s second-ranking space company, was commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop and also produce the ATV. In addition to the production of the ATV supply spacecraft, Astrium is also responsible for carrying out all the services related to the operation of the European sections of the International Space Station (ISS) under the ESA Exploitation Agreement. This includes mission preparation and execution, astronaut training, the on-going development of experiments and research facilities, the maintenance and logistics for all European ISS components and the ground stations, along with overseeing the communication system and data transfer.

“The ATV is Europe’s modern and reliable space transporter, equipped with unique systems for automated and autonomous rendezvous and docking,” said Bart Reijnen, Head of Orbital Systems & Space Exploration at Astrium Space Transportation, on the departure of the ATV Georges Lemaître.

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