ESA Spacecraft to Dock to the ISS on March 28

The unmanned capsule will launch in about two weeks

By on March 9th, 2012 08:03 GMT

Officials with the European Space Agency (ESA) announce that the third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-3), called Edoardo Amaldi, will launch on March 23, and dock to the International Space Station (ISS) in the night of March 28-29.

The unmanned robotic spacecraft is the largest capsule destined to resupply the ISS. It was originally supposed to launch on March 9, from the ESA Kourou Spaceport, in French Guiana, South America.

However, a series of technical issues discovered by chance forced engineers to cancel that launch attempt, and set a new one. The purpose of ATV-3 is to conduct ESA's yearly resupply run to the orbital lab. Once it reaches the ISS, Edoardo Amaldi will dock to the Russian-built Zvezda module.

After it's unloaded, and filled back up with thrash and other unnecessary items, the module will be deorbited, and destroyed during atmospheric reentry, high above the planetary surface.
ATV-3 is seen here approaching the ISS
   ATV-3 is seen here approaching the ISS
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