ATV docked with space station – impressive stuff

by on Feb.24, 2011, under Geeky, Non-geeky

This afternoon, ATV Johannes Kepler docked with the International Space Station (video here).

It’s delivering “4,534kg of propellant for International Space Station reboost and attitude control”, “1,600kg of dry cargo, 850kg of propellant for Russia‚Äôs Zvezda module and 100kg of oxygen”. Whilst attached to the ISS, it will “boost” it, compensating for decaying orbit caused by drag.

The thing, once released from the launch rocket, navigates itself into orbit behind the ISS, and automatically docks with it with astonishing 1.5 cm precision, all whilst while the spacecraft and the ISS are hurtling around the Earth at 28 000 km/h. Impressive stuff indeed. (See ATV flight phases.)

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