Here’s your morning photographic space delight: the International Space Station and the last European automated transfer vehicle (ATV), Georges Lemaître, taken using a camera and 10-inch Newtonian telescope.
The photographer, Ralf Vandebergh, captured these images as the ATV flew to the space station. The ATV launched flawlessly on July 30 and is expected to meet up with the station on Aug. 12. Check out pictures of the cargo vehicle below the jump.
The vehicle will stay docked to the space station for six months before making a planned re-entry in the atmosphere with a load of trash. The European Space Agency plans to track its fiery destruction to better design cargo vehicles in the future.
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“The project is proceeding under our ‘Design for Demise’ effort to design space hardware in such a way that it is less likely to survive reentry and potentially endanger the public,”said Neil Murray, who is leading the project at the European Space Agency (ESA), in a July statement.
“Design for Demise in turn is part of the agency’s clean space initiative, seeking to render the space industry more environmentally friendly in space as well as on Earth.”