European cargo freighter to undock from ISS

Oct 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: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

European cargo freighter separates from rocket

Jun 06, 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

Jun 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.

Europe sets June 5 for launch of space freighter

Apr 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.

European cargo vessel docks with space station

Mar 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 set for record-breaking space launch

Jun 03, 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 ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

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.