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ESA’s ATV-3 docks with ISS

March 29, 2012, 2:47 UTC+3
The European Space Agency’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle, Edoardo Amaldi, has docked with the International Space Station
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KOROLYOV, Moscow region, March 29 (Itar-Tass) —— The European Space Agency’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle, Edoardo Amaldi, has docked with the International Space Station (ISS).

“The vehicle docked with the service module Zvezda at 02:31 Moscow time,” the Mission Control Centre told Itar-Tass on Thursday, March 29.

The transport ship delivered 6.6 tonnes of supplies to the ISS, including 3 tonnes of fuel, 2.2 tonnes of clothes, food, sanitary and hygienic means, equipment and parcels for the crew.

Since its first voyage in April 2008, the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has been an indispensable ISS supply ship. ATV-2, launched in Fabruary 2011, is currently attached to ISS.

Approximately every 17 months, ATV carries 6.6 tonnes of cargo to the station 400 km above Earth. An onboard high-precision navigation system automatically guides the ATV on a rendezvous trajectory towards the ISS, where it docks with the station's Russian service module Zvezda.

The ATV then remains attached as a pressurised and integral part of the station for up to six months. After that it detaches and reenters Earth's atmosphere, during which it breaks up and burns, together with up to 6.4 tonnes of waste from the station.

ATV-3 will dock with the ISS automatically. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers controlled the docking from aboard the ISS.

The 30th resident crew is working aboard the ISS: Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and Oleg Kononenko of Russia, Daniel Burbank and Donald Pettit of the United States, and Andre Kuipers of Holland.

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