ATV-5 departs the Station. Credits: NASA

ATV parking lights

This ATV blog is in the process of being archived and going into retirement but great questions are still coming in that we feel obliged to answer. In response to our “ATV-made in USA” post Marcin asked:...

ATV Control Centre web documentary

Interactive book on ATV Control Centre

Our friends at France’s space agency CNES have published an excellent interactive book on ATV seen through the eyes of the ATV Control Centre. From the first signatures in 1995 to the last command sent, the web...

R-4D thruster. Credits: Aerojet

ATV: Made in America

Even though the last of the ATVs, Georges Lemaître, ended its mission last month we still have one more country to finish our ‘ATV-Made-in’ series: the United States of America. American company Aerojet supplied ATV’s large 490-N...

@BigArtimon “Georges Lemaitre up to Ottignies, Belgium sat. feb.14th 2015@18h11 TU”

Last goodbyes: ATV-5 seen from Earth – a tribute ...

Update 2: Finally got round to posting everything today. Apologies for the delay. Due to overwhelming participation and the decision to give everybody a little something, we distributed the prizes randomly. Some will receive but an ATV-5...

Great view of ATV-5 smoke trail

And on board the ISS, astro Terry also grabbed an amazing photo of ATV-5 reentry! Final view #ATV5 Georges Lemaître entering Earth’s atmosphere. It was surprising to see how high the smoke trail was. — Terry...

Rentry from space: ATV-5 seen from ISS

ATV-5 seen from space just prior to its destruction: Thanks for a great photo from the ISS, Astro Sam! Good bye #ATV5! Arrivederci ATV5! — Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) February 15, 2015

ATV Control Centre just before deorbit boost.

Final deorbit boost complete

ATV Georges Lemaître has been sent towards Earth for its controlled reentry after completing its second and last deorbit burn. The 23.3-minute burn reduced the spacecraft’s speed by 322.56 km/h and set it heading for its fiery...

ATV-5 and International Space Station over Saxony, Germany. Credits: Alex Spiller

ATV-5’s Big Dive

Animation of what’s happening this evening, as ATV-5 reenters, thanks to CNES. Désamarrage et rentrée atmosphérique de l’ATV-5 from CNES on Vimeo.

In this image, the ESA and CNES mission control teams are seen in the foreground, preparing for ATV-5 undocking. In the background, ESA's Engineering Support Team and industry experts can be seen. Out of view to the left: the CNES flight dynamics experts. ATV-5 undocking is set for 14:44 CET, 14 Feb 2015. Credit: ESA

ATV-CC voice loop: thanks to Houston & Moscow

Audio recording of the post-undocking voice loop conversation between ATV-CC Toulouse and the flight directors at Houston and Moscow. ATV-CC sends thanks and signs off after an extremely successful ATV programme.

ATV Control Centre main screen showing ATV altitude top right.

First deorbit burn successful

Mission director Mike Steinkopf confirms ATV-5’s first deorbit burn: DEO1 successful with nominal performance of DV and duration DV 51.76 m/s nominal duration of 826.5 s ATV-5 fired its thrusters for almost 14 minutes to reduce its...

Ralf Vandeberg via email: “I took this last Friday but in very turbulent windy conditions” Radar image

ATV-5 seen docked to Space Station

Very nice image acquired 13 February by Ralf Vandebergh, in The Netherlands. Ralf writes: I took this last Friday but in very turbulent windy conditions. It was impossible to obtain an image of the ISS that was...

Update 14:51CET

ESA’s Charlotte Beskow is working on console with the ATV-5 Engineering Support Team, and just sent this in. Half the team have dreadful colds (probably as a consequence of the cold weather last week plus the rather long working hours of the last few days). It is wonderful what aspirins, vitamin C and motivation can do… In fact, the only thing that would keep us at home right now would be a major calamity. ATV5 is quiet. Following yesterday’s exertions, George is remarkably well behaved. Perhaps he is a bit tired and resigned to his fate. If yesterday was a bit like Monty Python (think of the scene with the gallant knight...

Update 14:41 CET

ESA’s Charlotte Beskow, working on console with the ATV-5 Engineering Support Team, just sent this in. The final hours… What can be done, has been done. The day shift has been on console since this morning, and the night shift has reappeared in the control room to follow the final hours. Most people are carrying cameras, 100% conscious of the fact that today will never be repeated. Right now the word ‘never’ has a special ring to it. – CB

ATV-5 ground track over Western Europe, 15 February 2015 - on its final orbit before reentry; ATV moves from left to right (West to east); times annotated in GMT. CET = GMT+1

Spotting ATV-5 Sunday evening

First: A sincere thank you to everyone who spotted ATV-5 last night, Saturday, 14 Feb, and shared their pictures during the last, best, overflight above Western Europe, between about 18:10-18:16 GMT. We saw some wonderful photos via...

Artists impression of ATV-5 breakup and reentry. Credits: ESA-D. Ducros

What happens on Earth when ATV reenters?

This is a repost of our 2013 interview with Holger Krag, head of ESA’s Space Debris Office, at ESOC,  ESA’s Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, during the ATV-3 reentry. His description of the planning and precautions for...

First ATV, Jules Verne, undocking in 2008 Credit: ESA/NASA

European cargo ship departs Station for the final time

The fifth and final European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) undocked from the Zvezda Service Module at the International Space Station on 14 February, to conduct 30 hours of free flight prior to its deorbiting on...


ATV-5 undocking timelapse

This great timelapse was made from images taken by NASA’s Terry Virts while ESA’s Samantha Cristoforetti and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sasha Samokutyaev where monitoring ATV-5’s departure: