ATV-3 is on its way to the ISS
23 March 2012
The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, today at 04:34 GMT on an Ariane 5 launcher. This spacecraft, the most complex ever made in Europe, is now heading towards the International Space Station!
The ATV-3 has been named Edoardo Amaldi after the Italian physicist who was one of the founding fathers of European space research. Its mission is to deliver essential supplies to the ISS, such as water and fuel. In addition, it is also bringing toothbrushes, different kinds of toothpaste, and clothes for the astronauts! It will also reboost the Space Station’s orbit while it is attached for about five months.
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Edoardo Amaldi is now making a series of manoeuvres to rendezvous with the Space Station on 28 March at the estimated time of 22:34 GMT. There it will dock with Russia’s Zvezda module.
During the mission, the ferry is being monitored by the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France, with the help of control centres in Moscow and Houston.