|The ATV-3 approaches the International Space Station just several meters away from the aft end of the Zvezda service module. Credit: NASA TV|
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The “Edoardo Amaldi” Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) docked automatically to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 6:31 p.m. EDT Wednesday. Initial hatch opening is scheduled for Thursday to install air ducts. A final ingress by the crew is planned for Friday when the crew will begin unloading 7.2 tons of food, fuel and supplies.
The six-member Expedition 30 crew adjusted its sleep schedule to accommodate the ATV-3 docking. The crew stayed up late to monitor the approach and docking. They are set to go to sleep at 9:30 p.m. and wake up Thursday morning at 6:00.
Flight Engineers Andre Kuipers and Oleg Kononenko monitored the ATV-3’s approach along with ATV flight controllers in Toulouse, France. The ATV-3 launched 5-1/2 days ago from the European space port in Kourou, French Guiana.
Commander Dan Burbank closed the cupola’s shutters on the space station to protect the windows from possible exhaust plumes from the ATV-3. He also temporarily shut down the station’s wireless system to prevent interference with the ATV-3’s arrival. Burbank also photographed and videotaped the cargo craft’s approach and docking.
Meanwhile, the crew is ensuring the orbital laboratory soars around the Earth in top condition while conducting international science.
The commander spent a few minutes in the morning on the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment. He also cleaned filters checking for bacteria and performed plumbing work on the Waste and Hygiene Compartment.
Watch the NASA TV video of the docking below:
Read more about Expedition 30