European cargo freighter to undock from ISS

October 25, 2013

Europe's heaviest-ever cargo carrier to the International Space Station is set to undock on Monday after completing its mission, according to a European Space Agency (ESA) blog.

After separating from the ISS at 0859 GMT, the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) will tumble back towards Earth and burn up when it hits the atmosphere over an uninhabited part of the Pacific Ocean on November 2.

ESA's fourth ATV, dubbed Albert Einstein, was rocketed into space from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on June 5 and docked with the ISS ten days later.

It ferried a record cargo of 6.6 tonnes to the ISS—food, fuel, water, oxygen, science experiments and special treats for the orbiting crew.

At nearly 20.2 tonnes, ESA's penultimate cargo delivery to the ISS was the heaviest spacecraft ever launched by an Ariane rocket.

The unmanned vessel is the size of a double-decker bus—10 metres (33 feet) long and 4.5 metres (15 feet) in diameter.

One of its key functions was to boost the ISS, constantly falling towards Earth due to atmospheric resistance, back into a higher orbit.

It will finally leave the ISS filled with about six tonnes of garbage and human waste that will burn up with it.

The hatch linking the ATV to the ISS was closed on Friday, said the blog.

Explore further: European cargo vessel docks with space station

Related Stories

European cargo vessel docks with space station

March 29, 2012

An unmanned European craft docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday 2233 GMT, laden with tonnes of fuel, water, oxygen and other supplies, France's CNES space agency said.

Europe sets June 5 for launch of space freighter

April 11, 2013

The European Space Agency (ESA) on Thursday announced it would launch the fourth, and heaviest, in a series of hi-tech cargo vehicles to the International Space Station (ISS) on June 5.

Europe set for record-breaking space launch

June 3, 2013

Nearly 40 years ago, European countries worried by US and Soviet dominance of space gave the green light to the first Ariane rocket, a wee launcher capable of hoisting a satellite payload of just 1.8 tonnes—the equivalent ...

European cargo freighter separates from rocket

June 6, 2013

Europe's heaviest-ever cargo carrier to the International Space Station successfully separated from its rocket launcher an hour after liftoff on Wednesday to start a 10-day journey to the International Space Station (ISS).

Europe's space truck docks with ISS

June 15, 2013

A robot freighter bearing 6.6 tonnes of cargo docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

Recommended for you

Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

August 27, 2015

We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. ...

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.