Astronomy Picture of the Day

Jules Verne in Orbit

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Jules Verne in Orbit


The bright edge of planet Earth fades
into the darkness of space in the background
of this view of
Jules Verne
on an extraordinary voyage.

Snapped last Monday,
the picture shows
the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV),
named for the 19th century science fiction writer and visionary,
rehearsing its autonomous docking capability on
approach to the
International Space Station.

Using a laser guided rendezvous system, the
Jules Verne docked
smoothly and safely with the orbiting station on Thursday,
delivering 7,500 pounds of equipment, supplies, and fuel.

The cylindrical body of the
robotic cargo
is 4.5 meters in diameter and 10.3 meters long, with
solar arrays spanning 22.3 meters.

Jules Verne is scheduled to remain docked until August, providing
a reboost for the
space station before the ATV is deorbited.

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