European cargo vessel docks with space station

March 29, 2012 03:18


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PARIS - An unmanned European supply vessel carrying more than six tonnes of freight docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday reinforcing Europe's role in the functioning of the ISS, space officials said Wednesday.

European Space Agency (ESA) officials said the docking of Europe's third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) was flawless when it eased into place without any intervention from astronauts in the space station.

They put the official docking time with the ISS at 2233 GMT and approximately 30 minutes later initial electrical connections to the ISS were confirmed.

Astronauts aboard the ISS will be able to enter the vessel after electric connections and seals keeping space atmosphere out of the station are checked.

"This rendez-vous and docking was the most critical phase," Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general of the ESA, said after the docking from a mission control center in Toulouse, France.

"No other vehicle is able to do this kind of docking," Dordain said.

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