Europe’s ATV space freighter bids final goodbye to space station

February 14, 2015 6:45 PM

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Europe’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle departed the International Space Station for the last time Saturday, closing out one of the European Space Agency’s flagship programs as the bus-sized spaceship heads for a destructive re-entry Sunday.

Hooks linking the ATV supply ship to the space station’s Russian-built Zvezda service module opened and the cargo carrier backed away from the complex at 1342 GMT (8:42 a.m. EST), receding into darkness as the vehicles flew in a night pass 257 miles over Mongolia.

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