Is This a Scene from Star Wars or a Real Image from the ISS?

by Nancy Atkinson on June 22, 2011

ATV2 (Johannes Kepler) as it departs the ISS against the backdrop of Earth. Credit: NASA/Ron Garan

What an amazing image! The ATV-2 Johannes Kepler looks like an X-Wing fighter from Star Wars as it departed from the International Space Station. Astronaut Ron Garan posted the image on his Twitpic page, asking viewers if they thought the spacecraft looked like the fictional fighter jets of the Alliance.

The ATV-2 left the ISS and entered Earth’s atmosphere on June 21. The spacecraft had a “blackbox” on board, a Re-Entry Breakup Recorder (REBR) to monitor temperature, acceleration, rotation rate, and other data as it tumbled and disintegrated through the atmosphere. The data was sent down via a “phone call” to an Iridium satellite to help scientists better understand the physics of what happens to a spacecraft when it breaks up on re-entry.

So, enjoy one last beautiful look at the ATV-2 in this stunning image.

You can follow Universe Today senior editor Nancy Atkinson on Twitter: @Nancy_A. Follow Universe Today for the latest space and astronomy news on Twitter @universetoday and on Facebook.

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Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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