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Europe's space freighter, ATV-Johannes Kepler.

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    Europe's space freighter, ATV-Johannes Kepler.

    After delivering 7 tonnes of fuel and supplies to the International Space Station, Europe's space freighter "ATV-Johannes Kepler" is all set to perform it's final duty - removal of the rubbish and trash from the ISS.

    Late on Tuesday, the craft, complete with the garbage and waste from the ISS will make her final journey. A one way ticket to destruction in Earth's atmosphere. Her fiery journey will end high above the Pacific Tuesday night.

    This will be the second European space freighter to make this fateful trip back into the atmosphere of the Earth. In 2008, the "Jules Verne" did exactly the same. That occasion was recorded in detail by research aircraft fitted with equipment designed to detect the various components of the craft as they burn up.

    This interesting article from the BBC science news website tells you more. Well worth the read, and be sure to watch the video towards the bottom of the page that shows the re-entry of "Jules Verne" back in 2008.

    Also of interest is the fact that the craft is fitted with a 'black box' type recorder - Re-Entry Breakup Recorder (REBR). It is designed to record things like speed and temperature on re-entry. Having done so it will break free from the craft and make a satellite phone call to download it's data.
    Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.