The European Amplitude Agency periodically sends an Automated Transfer Vehicle to the International Amplitude Base to reload the astronauts with supplies. On March 28, ATV-3, called Edoardo Amaldi, docked with the ISS. Astronauts on the base took this astonishing account of it as it approached:
[Click to massively embiggen. And you really, absolutely appetite to.]
Wow. You can see the thrusters on the ATV afire to ascendancy its approach, like it’s appropriate out of Brilliant Trek! The stars, the blooming and amber aerosol band over the Earth’s limb, the burghal lights hardly blurred from the ISS acceleration of 8 km/sec – it gives such an awesome and unearthly feel to the picture!
As, I suppose, it should.
The ATV is amazing: this uncrewed apparatus can berth with the ISS application aloof GPS and brilliant trackers — telescopes that can actuate position and acclimatization by watching the stars… like age-old mariners did. [Update/correction: The ATV doesn’t berth with ISS application aloof GPS and brilliant trackers; it makes its access application those. Once it’s aing enough, a added adult laser advice arrangement is used.] This mission agitated oxygen, water, hardware, additional parts, food, and alike accouterment for the astronauts.
While it’s docked, it may additionally be acclimated as a booster, acclaim blame the base into a new apogee to abstain amplitude junk, or to addition the apogee higher. Although there’s about no air up there, there’s some. Over time, as the ISS plows through these dainty molecules, it loses alternate activity and drops into a lower orbit. Periodic reboosts are necessary, and the ATV can be acclimated for the job.
The ATV can break docked for up to six months or so. After that, it undocks, de-orbits, and burns up in Earth’s atmosphere, authoritative a amazing fireball. A bonfire of glory, you ability say, for a apparatus that helps accumulate bodies in space.
Image Credit: NASA
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