Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle made its final cargo delivery to the International Space Station on Tuesday, completing a smooth computer-controlled docking to resupply the orbiting laboratory with 7.3 tons of fuel, water, experiments and provisions.

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1338 GMT (9:38 a.m. EDT)
Hooks have closed to form a hard mate between the ATV and the space station. Electrical connectors will be automatically mated to establish a data and power link between the ATV and the International Space Station.
1332 GMT (9:32 a.m. EDT)
Docking occurred 260 miles over southern Kazakhstan.
1331 GMT (9:31 a.m. EDT)
NASA says the docking probe on the Automated Transfer Vehicle is being retracted, and the space station is confirmed to be in the free drift attitude mode.
1330 GMT (9:30 a.m. EDT)
Contact and capture confirmed over Central Asia!
1330 GMT (9:30 a.m. EDT)
Contact and capture confirmed over Central Asia!
1327 GMT (9:27 a.m. EDT)
The approach has resumed again and all systems are "go" for docking.
1321 GMT (9:21 a.m. EDT)
Right on time, the ATV has arrived at the S41 hold point. Control centers in Houston, Moscow and Toulouse will each give their "go" for docking in the next few minutes.
1319 GMT (9:19 a.m. EDT)
The spacecraft is moving closer to the space station again, heading for the S41 hold point 11 meters, or 36 feet, from the space station.
1315 GMT (9:15 a.m. EDT)
Ground teams in Toulouse, Houston and Moscow are ready to continue the ATV's approach.
1313 GMT (9:13 a.m. EDT)
The ATV's docking system is reported to be in the proper configuration for arrival at 1330 GMT (9:30 a.m. EDT).
1305 GMT (9:05 a.m. EDT)
Resembling an X-wing starfighter from the Star Wars film series, the Edoardo Amaldi spacecraft is now about 62 feet from the space station at the S4 hold point.

Controllers in Toulouse will be polled to affirm their readiness to continue the approach to the space station, and the ATV will point its docking probe toward the cone on the aft end of the outpost's Zvezda service module, aligning the ship for arrival.

1259 GMT (8:59 a.m. EDT)
The ATV's approach rate has slowed to a glacial rate of 6 centimeters per second, or about 2.4 inches per second.
1257 GMT (8:57 a.m. EDT)
Range is now 47 meters, or 154 feet.
1253 GMT (8:53 a.m. EDT)
The space station and ATV are now 72 meters, or 236 feet, apart. The ATV is closing in at a rate of 5.5 inches per second.
1249 GMT (8:49 a.m. EDT)
Range is now 105 meters, or about 344 feet.
1245 GMT (8:45 a.m. EDT)
The ATV is now 180 meters, or 590 feet, from the space station.
1243 GMT (8:43 a.m. EDT)
The ATV has departed the S3 hold point, now navigating with futuristic laser beams to manage a precise, methodical approach to the space station.
1240 GMT (8:40 a.m. EDT)
Control teams in France, Houston and Moscow are GO for the ATV to depart its current hold point and continue its approach. The next stop is the S4 hold point 62 feet from the space station.
1230 GMT (8:30 a.m. EDT)
Now flying over the night side of planet Earth, the Automated Transfer Vehicle is now visible only via blinking navigation lights in the live video stream from the International Space Station. The ATV is 247 meters, or about 800 feet, from the back of the space station's Zvezda module.
1205 GMT (8:05 a.m. EDT)
The Automated Transfer Vehicle has arrived at the S3 hold point less than 1,000 feet from the space station.

The craft will remain at the S3 hold point for about 36 minutes as controllers in Toulouse, France, activate the ATV's videometer and telegoniometer optical and laser sensors, which provide precise range, closing rate, directional and lateral motion data to the ship's flight computers in the final phase of docking.

Controllers in Toulouse will also be polled for a "go" to continue the ATV's approach.

1200 GMT (8:00 a.m. EDT)
Range is now 515 meters, or 1,680 feet.
1157 GMT (7:57 a.m. EDT)
The ATV has completed another in a series of thruster firings to fine-tune its approach to the space station. Arrival at the S3 hold point 249 meters (817 feet) from the space station is a few minutes away.
1145 GMT (7:45 a.m. EDT)
The ATV is now less than 2.5 kilometers from the space station, according to ESA. Live NASA TV broadcast coverage of the rendezvous begins in 15 minutes.

Follow along with this timeline of the rendezvous.

1125 GMT (7:25 a.m. EDT)
The Automated Transfer Vehicle is approaching the International Space Station as planned, and the nearly 20-ton spaceship just left a hold point about 3.5 kilometers, or 2.2 miles, behind the complex.

Controllers at the ATV ground center in France and space station mission control in Moscow and Houston have approved the spacecraft continuing its approach to the S3 waypoint 249 meters from the outpost.

The ATV is using relative GPS navigation to track down the space station in this phase of its approach, comparing satellite fixes between itself and the complex. It has also established a proximity radio communications link with the space station.

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov will man a control console inside the station's Zvezda service module. The station crew would use the device to command the freighter to retreat, abort, escape the vicinity of the complex. The possibility of crew intervention becomes feasible when the ATV reaches the S3 hold point about 817 feet behind the station at 1205 GMT (8:05 a.m. EDT).

The automated cargo ship will hold there for about 37 minutes as the ATV activates its terminal phase rendezvous sensors and engineers thoroughly check the craft's health from a control center in Toulouse, France.

The craft will press closer to the station using precise navigation data derived from the ship's two videometers.

The videometers, working simultaneously with one in standby mode, fire pulses of laser light toward the station one-to-ten times per second.

Acting as space mirrors, 26 reflectors positioned on the back end of the station's Zvezda service module will beam the laser light back to the sensors on Georges Lemaitre, creating unique light patterns captured on the ATV's cameras. The craft's advanced computers will use the patterns to autonomously determine its orientation, closing rate and distance from the space station.

Two other instruments known as telegoniometers will serve as watchdogs during the final rendezvous, ready to take over if something went wrong with the primary system.

The telegoniometers, similar to police radar guns, emit laser light at a different wavelength toward the Zvezda reflectors up to 10,000 times per second. The light's travel time between Edoardo Amaldi and the station allow the craft determine its range, while the direction of the station is given by the angles of two built-in mirrors rotating to the aim the laser at its target.

Another hold in the approach is programmed at a distance of 62 feet for ATV engineers to review the progress of the rendezvous. Georges Lemaitre is expected to stop at the S4 hold point at 1305 GMT (9:05 a.m. EDT) and stay there about 13 minutes. A final halting of the ATV's rendezvous is planned at the so-called S41 point at 1321 GMT (9:21 a.m. EDT) approximately 36 feet from the back end of the station.

If systems remain ready for docking, the bus-sized spacecraft will resume its approach for docking to the Zvezda service module at 1330 GMT (9:30 a.m. EDT).

The ATV is also outfitted with a Russian Kurs radar docking system as a backup.

The spacecraft's total dry cargo load is approximately 5,941 pounds, including fresh food, clothing, crew personal items, experiments and spare parts.

The rear section of the Georges Lemaitre spacecraft contains propellant and gas tanks with rocket fuel and oxidizer. About 1,896 pounds of propellant will be pumped into tanks inside the space station, and the rest of it can be used to reboost the space station's orbit or maneuver it out of the way of space debris.

The ATV will deliver 220 pounds of oxygen and air and replenish the station with 1,858 gallons of potable water.

A massive European supply ship is approaching the International Space Station for an automated linkup Tuesday with food, experiments and fuel.

Read our full story.

TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014
The last of Europe's automated cargo freighters blasted off from a South American spaceport Tuesday, soaring into orbit in pursuit of the International Space Station with 7.3 tons of fuel, food and supplies.

Read our full story.

0126 GMT (9:26 p.m. EDT Tues.)
The ATV's next phase has occurred. It was focused on activating the craft's systems, deploying its four solar panels and extending a communications boom to relay signals between the spacecraft and the International Space Station on final approach.
0053 GMT (8:53 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
The Ariane 5 rocket has achieved its 60th consecutive successful launch since 2003 and the vehicle's 70th overall success in 74 flights since 1996.
0051 GMT (8:51 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
SPACECRAFT SEPARATION. The Automated Transfer Vehicle just deployed from the upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket, completing tonight's launch and the start of the trek to the International Space Station for docking Aug. 12.
0047 GMT (8:47 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+60 minutes. Cutoff confirmed, completed powered flight for the Ariane 5's launch of ATV 5. Standing by for separation of the spacecraft from the launch vehicle.
0047 GMT (8:47 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+59 minutes, 35 seconds. Second stage ignition. This burn will last for about 55 seconds.
0045 GMT (8:45 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+58 minutes. Standing by for the second burn by the upper stage for today's launch.
0037 GMT (8:37 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+50 minutes. The Aestus engine will reignite in about 9 minutes for a 55-second firing to circularize the rocket's orbit at an altitude of 161 miles. The target orbital inclination is 51.6 degrees.
0027 GMT (8:27 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+40 minutes. This coast phase in the ascent, lasting 42 minutes in total, continues with no problems reported.
0017 GMT (8:22 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+30 minutes. The Ariane 5 rocket has passed out of communications tracking sites in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Azores. Ground stations in Australia and New Zealand, along with NASA's TDRSS satellite network, will monitor the second Ariane 5 upper stage burn and the deployment of the Automated Transfer Vehicle.
0004 GMT (8:04 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+17 minutes, 12 seconds. The Aestus engine has turned off after firing for about 8 minutes to place the ATV payload in a temporary parking orbit.

The Ariane is now entering a ballistic phase, in which the rocket will fly over Europe, Asia and Australia before restarting the Aestus engine to circularize its orbit at an altitude of 161 miles. The second upper stage burn is scheduled to start at Plus+59 minutes, 3 seconds, or 0046 GMT (8:46 p.m. EDT).

0003 GMT (8:03 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
A quick shot of the Ariane 5's fiery blastoff is on our Facebook page. Be sure to like us on Facebook!
0002 GMT (8:02 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+15 minutes. Velocity now 7.4 kilometers per second.
0001 GMT (8:01 p.m. EDT on Tues.)
Plus+14 minutes. The upper stage's first burn will achieve an elliptical parking orbit with a targeted high point of 161 miles and a low point of about 85 miles. A second burn coming up will circularize the orbit.
TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014
2358 GMT (7:58 p.m. EDT)
Plus+11 minutes. Ariane is 143 km in altitude flying northeast over the Atlantic Ocean, traveling at a velocity of 7.1 km/sec.
2356 GMT (7:56 p.m. EDT)
Plus+9 minutes, 10 seconds. Ariane 5's empty first stage has shut down and jettisoned, and the storable propellant upper stage has ignited for the first of two burns needed to place the ATV in a circular 161-mile-high orbit.

The first stage will fall back to Earth and impact in the Atlantic Ocean west of Portugal.
2355 GMT (7:55 p.m. EDT)
Plus+8 minutes. Velocity is 5.8 kilometers per second. One minute left in the first stage burn.
2353 GMT (7:53 p.m. EDT)
Plus+6 minutes. The ATV is headed for a docking to the space station on Aug. 12 at 1334 GMT (9:34 a.m. EDT).
2352 GMT (7:52 p.m. EDT)
Plus+5 minutes. Ariane is 138 km in altitude, traveling at a velocity of 3.2 km/sec.
2351 GMT (7:51 p.m. EDT)
Plus+3 minutes, 35 seconds. The Ariane 5's payload fairing has jettisoned, exposing the ATV spacecraft now that the rocket is out of the dense atmosphere.
2350 GMT (7:50 p.m. EDT)
Plus+2 minutes, 24 seconds. The solid rocket boosters have been jettisoned from the Ariane 5 rocket's core stage. The liquid-fueled Vulcain main engine continues to fire to propel the vehicle and its satellite payload to space.
2349 GMT (7:49 p.m. EDT)
Plus+90 seconds. Burning more than 5 metric tons of fuel per second, Ariane is soaring into the sky bound for the International Space Station.
2348 GMT (7:48 p.m. EDT)
Plus+60 seconds. The Ariane 5 has roared away from the South American jungle launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. The combined power generated by the twin solid rocket boosters and liquid-fueled main stage engine are propelling this heavy Ariane payload into the night sky. The rocket has gone transonic and is nearing the region of maximum aerodynamic pressure.
2347:45 GMT (7:47:45 p.m. EDT)
LIFTOFF! Liftoff of the Ariane 5 rocket with the Georges Lemaitre spacecraft, Europe's fifth cargo transfer vehicle for the International Space Station, closing out a pioneering chapter in European space history.
2347:38 GMT (7:47:38 p.m. EDT)
H-0. Main engine ignition!
2346 GMT (7:46 p.m. EDT)
Minus-40 seconds. Ariane 5 is running on internal power.
2346 GMT (7:46 p.m. EDT)
Minus-1 minute. A fast-paced series of events leading to launch will begin at Minus-37 seconds when the automated ignition sequence is started. The water suppression system at the launch pad will start at Minus-30 seconds. At Minus-22 seconds, overall control will be given to the onboard computer. The Vulcain main engine will be readied for ignition with hydrogen chilldown starting at Minus-18 seconds.

The residual hydrogen burn flares will fire beneath the Vulcain engine at Minus-6 seconds to burn away any free hydrogen gas. At Minus-3 seconds, onboard systems take over and the two inertial guidance systems go to flight mode. Vulcain main engine ignition occurs at Minus-0 seconds with checkout between Plus+4 and 7 seconds. If there are no problems found, the solid rocket boosters are ignited at Plus+7.0 seconds for liftoff at Plus+7.3 seconds.

2345 GMT (7:45 p.m. EDT)
Minus-2 minutes. The Vulcain main engine supply valves are being opened. And the ground valves for engine chilldown are being closed.
2344 GMT (7:44 p.m. EDT)
Minus-3 minutes. The scheduled launch time has been loaded into the rocket's main computer system. The main stage tank pressures should now be at flight level.
2343 GMT (7:43 p.m. EDT)
Minus-4 minutes. Pressurization is now underway for the main cryogenic stage's liquid oxygen and hydrogen tanks. Also, final pyrotechnic arming is starting.
2342 GMT (7:42 p.m. EDT)
Minus-5 minutes. All status panel lights remain green, indicating no problems right now that could prevent an on-time blastoff.
2341 GMT (7:41 p.m. EDT)
Minus-6 minutes. Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen supplies of the main cryogenic stage are being verified at flight level. Also, the pyrotechnic line safety barriers are being armed.
2340 GMT (7:40 p.m. EDT)
Minus-7 minutes. The Synchronized Sequence has started. Computers are now in control of this automated final phase of the launch countdown to prepare the rocket and ground systems for liftoff. There are three computers running the countdown -- one aboard the Ariane 5 and two redundant computers at the launch complex.
2339 GMT (7:39 p.m. EDT)
Minus-8 minutes. The synchronized countdown sequence begins in one minute, transferring all control over to computers.
2337 GMT (7:37 p.m. EDT)
Minus-10 minutes. Tonight's launch opportunity is just an instant in time. Unlike most Ariane flights that feature launch windows that can extend as much as a couple of hours, this ATV mission has just one second for the rocket to blast off.
2336 GMT (7:36 p.m. EDT)
Minus-11 minutes. The ATV 5 spacecraft should be transitioning to its own internal battery power supply at this time.
2333 GMT (7:33 p.m. EDT)
Minus-14 minutes. Right now, all systems are "go" for launch. The status panel in the control center remains green.
2326 GMT (7:26 p.m. EDT)
Minus-21 minutes. The Synchronized Sequence is being prepped for activation. This computer-run sequence assumes control of the countdown at the Minus-7 minute mark to perform the final tasks to place the rocket and pad systems in launch configuration.

At Minus-4 seconds, the rocket's onboard computer will take over control of main engine start, health checks of the powerplant and solid rocket booster ignition commanding for liftoff.

2322 GMT (7:22 p.m. EDT)
Minus-25 minutes. According to ESA, the ATV 5 cargo load includes:

The total cargo load is 14,555 pounds, or nearly 7.3 tons.

2317 GMT (7:17 p.m. EDT)
Minus-30 minutes. Although the launch time is being advertised as 2347:38 GMT (7:47:38 p.m. EDT), liftoff will actually occur seven seconds later. The countdown is timed for the moment of ignition of the Ariane 5's first stage Vulcain engine. The 16-story rocket will rise from the pad seven seconds later when the twin solid rocket boosters fire.

The Automated Transfer Vehicle, christened Georges Lemaitre, will be deployed 64 minutes later.

2310 GMT (7:10 p.m. EDT)
Live video coverage of the Ariane 5 countdown and launch is beginning now.
2247 GMT (6:47 p.m. EDT)
Minus-60 minutes. Today's launch will be:
1930 GMT (3:30 p.m. EDT)
Super-cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen is being pumped into the Ariane 5's core stage now. The first stage's Vulcain 2 engine will consume the propellant during a 9-minute burn.

The weather in French Guiana continues to look favorable for launch, with partly sunny skies and balmy temperatures at the tropical spaceport.

Live streaming video of the launch begins at 2315 GMT (7:15 p.m. EDT).

1530 GMT (12:30 p.m. EDT)
All parameters are currently green on the status panel inside the Jupiter control center at the Ariane 5 launch base in French Guiana.

Arianespace chairman and CEO Stephane Israel reports the weather forecast calls for favorable conditions for tonight's launch opportunity, which comes at exactly 2347:38 GMT (7:47:38 p.m. EDT; 8:47:38 p.m. local time).

The launch window is nearly instantaneous, occurring when the International Space Station's orbital ground track passes over the launch site near Kourou, French Guiana.

The launch countdown started before 9 a.m. local time (8 a.m. EDT) this morning.

Chilldown of ground plumbing for the rocket's super-cold propellants will begin about seven hours prior to launch.

The flight program will be loaded into the Ariane 5's on-board computer about six hours before liftoff, along with alignment of the rocket's navigation system. At this point in the countdown, the launch team, stationed about 3 kilometers from the pad, will also verify radio links between the vehicle and the launch base.

The final workers will evacuate the ELA-3 launch pad by about 1847 GMT (2:47 p.m. EDT) as launch managers receive a weather briefing on the status of high-altitude winds and other conditions before the start of fueling, which begins at about 1909 GMT (3:09 p.m. EDT) with filling of the Ariane 5's core stage with 385,000 pounds of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

The Ariane 5's two strap-on boosters burn solid fuel, and storable hypergolic propellants were loaded aboard the launcher's upper stage last week.

The Automated Transfer Vehicle will be switched to its internal battery power source at 2336 GMT (7:36 p.m. EDT).

Computers will assume control of the countdown 7 minutes before liftoff at 2340 GMT (7:40 p.m. EDT), managing a fast-paced series of events to pressurize the rocket's propellant tanks, switch the launcher to on-board power, arm its destruct system, and ignite its Vulcain 2 main engine.

MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014
One day before its fiery blastoff en route to the International Space Station, a European Ariane 5 rocket was towed to its launch pad in the Amazon jungle Monday.

The 1.7-mile journey from the final assembly building to the Ariane 5's ELA-3 launch zone took about an hour, and workers connected the rocket and its mobile launch table to the pad's electrical and fluid systems later Tuesday.

A 540-horsepower Titan tug pulled the rocket along dual rail tracks leading to the launch pad.

Once the Ariane 5 arrived at the tropical launch pad, technicians planned to connect it to the ground electrical, fluid and communications systems to ready the vehicle for Tuesday's countdown.

Liftoff of the 166-foot-tall Ariane 5 rocket and ESA's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle is set for 2347:38 GMT (7:47:38 p.m. EDT; 8:47:38 p.m. local time) Tuesday, hauling more than 14,500 pounds of propellant, food, experiments, water and oxygen to the space station.

Check out photos of the rollout.

SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014
A launch readiness review on Saturday gave the green light to continue final launch preparations ahead of Tuesday night's liftoff of an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana with the last of Europe's resupply ships headed for the International Space Station.

Officials assessed the status of the Ariane 5 launcher, the Automated Transfer Vehicle payload, ground systems, and the space station's readiness to receive the massive cargo and refueling freighter when it arrives Aug. 12.

Liftoff of the Ariane 5 is set for 2347:38 GMT (7:47:38 p.m. EDT) from the ELA-3 launch zone at the Guiana Space Center on the northern coast of South America.

The customary readiness review concluded with approval to continue preparing for launch Tuesday.

Rollout of the 166-foot-tall rocket, mounted on top of a mobile launch platform, is set to begin before midday Monday. The rocket and its platform will be towed 1.7 miles by a 540-horsepower tug along dual rail tracks leading to the ELA-3 launch zone.

Once the Ariane 5 arrives at the tropical launch pad, technicians will connect it to the ground electrical, fluid and communications systems to ready the vehicle for Tuesday's countdown.

Powered by twin solid rocket boosters, a hydrogen-fueled main stage and an upper stage burning storable propellants, the launcher is flying in the Ariane 5 ES configuration. The Ariane 5 ES is tailored for low Earth orbit and medium Earth orbit missions, while the more commonly used Ariane 5 ECA, which uses a cryogenic upper stage, regularly puts large telecom satellites in high-altitude orbits.

The Ariane 5 will take nearly 64 minutes to put the European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle into a circular orbit 260 kilometers, or 161 miles, above Earth.

From there, the ATV spacecraft will guide itself toward the space station, first for a long-range rendezvous Aug. 8 to check the design a new infrared navigation system. Then the cargo craft will close in on the 450-ton research complex for an automated docking Aug. 12 to the Russian Zvezda service module.

The ship is carrying food, experiments, spare parts, fuel, air and water to replenish the space station's reserves.

The last flight of Europe's heavy-duty Automated Transfer Vehicle heading for the International Space Station will be delayed a few days while engineers resolve a problem with the spaceship's Ariane 5 launcher, officials said Friday.

Read our full story.

MONDAY, JUNE 9, 2014
Designed for a dual mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and conduct technological experiments for future space projects, Europe's final automated resupply spacecraft is set for liftoff the last week of July after a previous commercial Ariane 5 rocket launch was postponed by a problem with an Australian telecommunications satellite.

Read our full story.