ISS supply vehicle production

ISS supply vehicle production

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Credit: PASQUALE SORRENTINO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: ISS supply vehicle production. Technicians working on the hatch of the European Space Agency's automated transfer vehicle (ATV). The unmanned ATV will be used to send supplies, including water, air, propellant and food, to the International Space Station (ISS) from 2006. Once docked, the crew will be able to enter the pressurised cargo hold (seen here) through this hatch. While attached to the ISS it will use its own thrusters to boost the station's orbit to overcome the effects of atmospheric drag. Once emptied, the cargo hold will be filled with waste. After a stay of approximately six months it will detach from the station and head to Earth, burning up upon re- entering Earth's atmosphere.

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