ESA’s ATV Edoardo Amaldi lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, today at 04:34 GMT (05:34 CET, 01:34 local) and is now heading towards the International Space Station.

The spacecraft will make a series of manoeuvres to rendezvous with the ISS on 28 March at the projected time of 22:34 GMT (00:34 CEST) where it will dock under its own control with Russia’s Zvezda module. ISS Expedition 30 crewmembers André Kuipers and Oleg Kononenko will monitor the approach and docking of the ATV from a special console inside the Zvezda module.

The Automated Transfer Vehicle, the most complex spacecraft ever produced in Europe, is now en route to deliver essential supplies to the orbital outpost. It will also reboost the Space Station’s orbit while it is attached for about five months.

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Image gallery ATV-3 launch: