PARIS, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A supply capsule for the International Space Station has been named in honor of a Belgian scientist considered the father of the big-bang theory, officials say.
The European Space agency said the naming of the capsule for Georges Lemaitre keeps up the tradition of naming Automated Transfer Vehicles for great European visionaries to reflect Europe's deep roots in science, technology and culture.
The first ATV, which made a flawless flight in 2008, was named for French science fiction writer Jules Verne.
ATV-2 was named in honor of German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, while the third ATV,
named after the Italian physicist and space pioneer Edoardo Amaldi, will head toward the ISS March 9, a release from ESA headquarter in Paris said.
The proposal to honor Lemaitre came from Belgium's delegation to ESA and was endorsed by the ESA Program Board, responsible for Space Station matters.
Georges Lemaitre was born in 1894 in Charleroi, Belgium.
In 1927, he discovered a family of solutions to Einstein's relativity equations that described an expanding universe rather than a static one and provided the first observational estimation of the so-called Hubble constant.
The theory later became much better known as the big-bang theory.
Lemaitre died in 1966, shortly after having learned of the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation that provided strong proof of his theory about the birth of the universe.