Gorgeous photo of a resupply ship docking to the Space Station

Illustration for article titled Gorgeous photo of a resupply ship docking to the Space Station

We've seen so many simulated spaceship-to-space station docking in movies and on television, but it's rare to see such a lovely photo of a real-life docking. This is the European Space Agency's ATV-3, just as it's about to dock to the International Space Station.

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This glowing space pixie is an Automated Transfer Vehicle, an unmanned robotic supply ship. On this particular journey, ATV-3 was delivering 220 pounds of oxygen, 628 pounds of water, 4.5 tons of propellant and nearly 2.5 tons of dry cargo, as well as hardware, spare parts, food, and clothing. The crew actually readjusted its sleep schedule to welcome ATV-3 into port. I wonder if they got a similar view in exchange for their lack of sleep.

[NASA via Geekosystem]

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

What's remarkable about this image to me is that it's dark enough to see the stars by. Normally on the day side of the Earth, the earthlight is too bright and it washes out the starlight.

And it's dark enough to see the thruster fire too.