Category Archives: Fun stuff

Expedition 45 "Return of the Jedi" poster. Credits: NASA

A long time ago in our galaxy…

The ATV programme might be over, but the legend lives on. Our favourite X-Wing aircraft shows up in NASA's Expedition 45 poster to the left of the green lightsaber held by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. This is...


ATV in numbers

Another great recap of the five ATV missions from France's space agency CNES... in numbers. This infographic in French gives an impression of the scale of running a spacecraft programme, below is a rough translation, without the...

@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...

Last screen shown at the ATV control centre before being switched off.

ATV forever

This was the last image shown on the ATV Control Centre's main screen after the last reentry ever of an Automated Transfer Vehicle. The technology in ATV will go to space again in 2017 on NASA's Orion...

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...

Orbital elements for ATV5 after undocking

For keen astronomers who wish to spot ATV in flight after undocking today: here is the TLE! 1 40103U 14044A   15045.60004630  .00000000  00000-0  12750-3 0  0006 2 40103 051.6471 336.2579 0014345 322.0611 311.8677 15.57261553 00004

ATV fuel consumption

A while back, a reader asked for fuel consumption figures for our favourite space freighter via the blog’s feedback form: “I would like to have some detailed info on the consumed fuel in kg during the rendezvous phase of ATV towards the International Space Station, split for attitude and orbit manoeuvres. In detail I am looking for data on fuel consumption evolution to maintain the ATV with the wished attitude possibly for each phase (Yaw Steering, Target Pointing).” A quick email to ESA's Laurent Arzel working on the Flight Dynamics team at ATV Control Centre in Toulouse gives all the answers we could need. Laurent writes: “Between launch and docking, ATV burns...

Arms that never tire: Robots in space! 28 Jan

Join us for a hangout with ESA Astronaut Tim Peake & Rosetta Project Scientist Dr Matt Taylor as they discuss robotics in space missions. #RobotsInSpace Date: Wednesday 28 January 2015 || Time: 17:00 GMT 18:00 CET 11:00 Houston || Access via #RobotsInSpace Presented by ESA in cooperation with the UK Science and Innovation Network and the UK Space Agency.  

Astro Sam working in ATV

Our ATV-5 welcomes a new European astronaut into its massive cargo carrier! At the very back end of the #ISS ready to give “a push” when needed: our #ATV5. I will work there for 1st time today! — Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) November 28, 2014

‘Field of the Sky’ meteorite flying above our skies aga...

Scottish conceptual Katie Paterson created an artwork 'Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky' based on a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite that was cast, melted, and recast back into a new version of itself while retaining its original form. The artwork has been on display as part of the 2014 Edinburgh Art Festival, and ESA agreed to load a small sample of the meteorite on the supply spacecraft ATV Georges Lemaître as a symbolic return to space. Meteorites and asteroids, imbued with cosmic history are crucial to the scientific understanding of our Solar System and our origins on Earth. ESA is involved in many activities in this domain, most notably the comet catcher Rosetta...


ATV-5 seen from Earth

Astronomer-photographer extraordinaire Thierry Legault has featured before on this blog, but wanted to take images of the International Space Station with ATV Georges Lemaître visible. Taken from a Paris suburb in France, the results are outstanding. Click on  "read more" for more pictures and even a high-definition video of the Station passing the Sun in real time (it lasts 0.7 seconds).

Fabulous shadow view of our favourite cargo vessel

Posted last night by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst! It is always eerie to cross the terminator. The last rays of the sun cast a shadow of #ATV5 our solar panels. — Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) October 4, 2014

ATV-5 status update 19 September

A quick update this morning with highlights of ATV-5's current status, as reported on Friday by ESA's Jean-Michel Bois at ATV-CC. And this post gives us an excellent opportunity to wish everyone at SpaceUp Toulouse a fabulous weekend and we hope you learn, share and enjoy! GENERAL STATUS Successful O2 transfers (12 & 18 Sep), ISS reboost (14 Sep) and first checks for fuel transfer (to follow)  ATV and ATV-CC all nominal CARGO and FUEL STATUS Dry cargo : initial 2695kg, transferred 1120kg (42%) Water : 843kg (no transfer yet) Oxygen (2 tanks) & Air (1 tank): initial 100kg, around 40 kg of O2 transferred  Propellant : initial 4357kg, 1243kg used, 1682kg...

ATV-5 at night

ATV-5 as we like to see it: surfing the galaxy. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted this picture yesterday with the text: I never imagined that flying to space would give me a different view of our entire galaxy. ATV's distinctive 'X-wing' solar panels can be seen on the left. For full resoltion and many more amazing pictures visit Alexander's Flickr page:  

ATV-5 launch campaign (time lapse)

This time-lapse video shows the ATV-5 Georges Lemaître loading process and its integration on the Ariane 5 launcher before it was transferred and launched to the International Space Station from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 29 July 2014. The fifth in the series of the largest spacecraft ever built in Europe is also the heaviest load an Ariane 5 has ever launched. ATV-5 carried almost 6.6 tonnes of supplies to the orbital outpost, including a record amount of dry cargo: around 2682 kg. Georges Lemaître delivered experiments, equipment, spare parts, water, air and even artwork to the six astronauts living in space. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has been responsible for docking and unloading the cargo...

Replica of the International Space Station made of 221,...

Very, very impressive! That's more matchsticks than Mt Everest is tall! Well done, Patrick Acton! An #ISS scale model... made from 243 000 matchsticks!? Our ATV Jules Verne is in there too! — ESA (@esa) August 13, 2014

ATV smarties

Like us here at the blog, you're probably jealous – and understandably so! wow! To keep the ground team in good mood, we have ATV #smarties here in Toulouse A full collection! #ATV5 — lionelferra (@lionelferra) August 12, 2014


ATV mission in 3D

Grab your 3D glasses (which you always keep by your computer, yes?) and enjoy this as-real-as-it-gets ATV adventure! Travelling over 6 million kilometres, follow the epic voyage of ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle in full 3D, from assembly and shipment to Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana to launch and docking with the International Space Station.

ATV-5 seen from ISS: More great pictures

We've just received several more excellent photos of last night's flyunder, showing ATV-5 just 7 km below the ISS. Photos were taken by the crew during closest approach.      

Spot ATV-5 & ISS together tonight

A number of very helpful folk have sent in comments and notes to remind us to remind you that tonight could be a great night to look up... to the ISS & ATV-5. Before we get to tonight's details, this is also a great opportunity to share some of Ralf Vandebergh's excellent space photos from the past few days. Ralf writes: Attached are the ATV-5 images from 1 August with now a better view of the solar panels. I have exposed the ATV body slightly over this time in order to get a better view of the solar panels. I also attach a set of ISS images taken in the same orbit...