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ESA's Edoardo Amaldi Thunders to Orbit Atop Ariane 5

 Video courtesy of ESA

The European Space Agency or ESA launched the third of the agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATV) bound for a rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). Liftoff occurred at 11:34 p.m. CDT from the Arianespace launch site located in Kourou, French Guiana. 

The spacecraft weighs in at approximately 13 tons and was powered aloft by the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. This particular ATV is named after Italian physicist Edoardo Amaldi who is viewed as one of Europe’s key pioneers in terms of space exploration. The spacecraft is now poised to deliver a little over seven tons worth of propellant, water and other supplies to the space station.

These supplies will help to support the six-person crew currently on the orbiting outpost. The spacecraft will be guided to the ISS via controllers working out of the Automated Transfer Vehicle Control Center located in Toulouse, France. The vehicle will be docked to the aft port of the Russian Zvezda service module. This is currently scheduled to take place on March 28 at 4:45 p.m. The Edoardo Amaldi is expected to remain at the ISS until September. Once it has completed its mission, flight controllers will deorbit the spacecraft, it will then reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up over the Pacific Ocean.

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