Built in Western Europe, the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) was an uncrewed space transporter and a milestone in the history of European aerospace. The first of five ATVs went into service as a cargo spacecraft for the ISS in spring 2008.
The German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst set off for the International Space Station (ISS) on 28 May 2014. During his time on board the Space Station, he was involved in 100 experiments involving all ISS partners. He returned safely to Earth after 165 days, landing in the Kazakhstan steppe on 10 November 2014.
The successful NASA/ESA mission will come to an end after 20 years on 15 September 2017. Among the principal components of the mission was the Huygens lander by the European Space Agency ESA, which piggybacked on Cassini until its arrival at Saturn, before separating and landing on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, in January 2005.
The Mars500 participants spent 521 days on a simulated flight to Mars between 2010 and 2011. The purpose of the experiment was to acquire insight into the physical effects of a crewed mission to Mars.
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft reached Mercury in March 2011, where it was tasked with mapping the planet and analysing its surface. DLR evaluated the data from three of the instruments on board. The mission came to an end on 30 April 2015, with the orbiter’s controlled crash.
The ROKVISS technology experiment was successfully mounted on the Russian service module Zvesda on board the International Space Station from 2005 to 2010.
The X-ray satellite ROSAT was launched into orbit in 1990, and provided scientists with the first opportunity to examine the entire celestial sphere for X-ray sources using one telescope. The mission ended in 2011 with its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
Comets are 'contemporary witnesses' to the early days of the Solar System. The aim of the ESA Rosetta mission, comprising the orbiter and the lander Philae, was to research them on the surface as well as from orbit. The journey to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko took 10 years and the mission ended in September 2016.
Built by DLR, the SCIAMACHY (Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Cartography) instrument on board ESA's environmental satellite Envisat acted as a 'CO2 detective in space' from 2002 to 2012, contributing measurement data used in climate research.
Germany's SHEFEX II spacecraft took off in June 2012. It conducted experiments in a microgravity environment and brought them back to Earth. All of the experiments were completed successfully, but it proved impossible to salvage the spacecraft itself.
The Venus Express mission reached Earth's planetary neighbour in April 2006 to study the characteristics of Venus' atmosphere and to produce a global map of the surface temperature. The mission officially ended in December 2014.