Space cargo ship docks with ISS
PARIS, France – Europe's final robot cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) docked with its target as scheduled on Tuesday, August 12, in a precision maneuver webcast live.
"Georges Lemaitre has completed the final docking of an automated transfer vehicle (ATV) to the ISS," mission commentator Rob Navias announced as the craft made contact at 1330 GMT (9:30 pm, Philippine time) as planned.
The ATV is the fifth and last such vehicle that Europe had pledged for lifeline deliveries to the orbiting outpost.
It was blasted into space on July 30 from Kourou in French Guiana.
Weighing in at more than 20 tons, the double decker bus-sized craft brought the biggest-ever payload of more than 6.6 tons, including fuel, water, oxygen, food, clothes and scientific experiments for the 6 ISS crew.
Having navigated its way to the ISS by starlight, the craft docked with its target at a height of about 400 kilometers (250 miles) above the Earth.
The craft is named after Georges Lemaitre, the Belgian astrophysicist who proposed the "Big Bang" theory of how the Universe came into being.
After unloading its cargo, the 10-meter (33-feet) pressurised capsule will provide additional living and working space for the astronauts and use its onboard engines to boost the altitude of the space station, which loses height through atmospheric drag each day.
At the end of its six-month mission, filled with garbage and human waste, the spacecraft will undock and burn up in a controlled re-entry over the South Pacific.
The ISS will in future be resupplied by Russia's Progress freighter and the Dragon and Cygnus craft built by two NASA-contracted private American firms – Space X and Orbital Sciences. – Rappler.com