The image above was taken 70 m from the Station – the first showing the complex in this configuration. Ahead of an ATV docking, the Station turns its solar wings to avoid GPS navigation signals bouncing off the structure and confusing the incoming craft.
The image was taken by a technology demonstration called Laser Infrared Imaging Sensors, or LIRIS, mounted on ATV Georges Lemaître as it approached the Station for docking on 12 August 2014.
LIRIS is a test of European sensors technology in space to improve the autonomous rendezvous and docking that ATVs have performed five times since 2008. ESA’s goal is to be able to perform an automated rendezvous far from home, perhaps in Mars orbit or with an uncooperative target such as an inert object.
Read more about LIRIS in this news article.