A fabulous mix of images taken by Ralf Vandebergh showing exquisite detail of the ATV in orbit on 8 June 2013. Ralf wrote:”No illumination of the solar panels but amazing visibility of segment structure in the ATV!” Thanks for sharing, Ralf!

ATV imaged in orbit 8 June 2013

Ralf adds:

The ATV actually ‘taught’ me spacecraft photography, apart from the big ISS. It was the first smaller vehicle I captured successfully after I started doing ISS imaging. As it is often at the altitude of the ISS, you have a good reference for the size of the modules to compare the ATV with. So it taught me what to expect from a certain size in combination with a certain altitude and what is possible with my imaging equipment.

Additionally, the ATV can show surprising high-contrast detail, even when the spacecraft is considerably small in the frames. It taught me also much about the importance of the illumination-angle and that you must have some luck that – for example – the solar panels are illuminated when seen from your location.

For that reason, unlike with radar images, it is therefore not always reliable to judge about a successful (solar) panel deployment using optical images.