We spoke a few days back with ESA space debris specialist Holger Krag, from the Agency’s Space Debris Office at ESOC, Germany, on how he helps ensure that the ATV controlled re-entry is safe and, well, controlled.

Holger will be familiar to some of you: he joined DLR’s Manuel Metz on stage at the SocialSpace event in Cologne in September to present on the two agency’s space debris research and mitigation activities.

Manuel Metz (DLR) und Holger Krag (ESA) / Manuel Metz (DLR) and Holger Krag (ESA)In today’s audio interview, Holger mentions the SPOUA and Navareas 14 & 15; these can be seen in the Google Earth widget below.

The SPOUA region is the big red square-ish area; essentially, ATV comes down inside this unpopulated region. The two Navareas, for which are responsible Chile and New Zealand are responsible, are shown also. (If the widget doesn’t display for any reason, download the KML file here and simply open it in your Google Earth programme.)