ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) are an essential contribution by Europe to running the International Space Station. Naming the fifth after Belgian scientist Georges Lemaître continues the tradition of drawing on great European visionaries to reflect Europe’s deep roots in science, technology and culture.
The first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which made a flawless flight in 2008, was named after French science fiction writer Jules Verne.
It was followed in 2011 by ATV-2, named in honour of German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler.
It will be the turn of the third ATV, named after the Italian physicist and space pioneer Edoardo Amaldi, to head towards the Space Station on 9 March.
ATV-4, aiming for launch in early 2013, carries the name of Albert Einstein.
Naming the last vehicle of the family, ATV-5, after Belgian physicist Georges Lemaître, father of the Big Bang theory, continues this approach. … (ESA)