WASHINGTON -- The departure of the third European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-3) cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station will be broadcast live on NASA Television beginning at 6:15 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Sept. 25.
The 13-ton "Edoardo Amaldi," named for the 20th-century Italian physicist regarded as one of the fathers of European spaceflight, launched from Kourou, French Guiana, on March 23. It arrived at the space station March 28 with several tons of supplies and experiments for the station's crew.
Now loaded with items no longer needed on the station, ATV-3 will undock from the aft docking port of the station's Russian Zvezda service module at 6:35 p.m., Sept. 25. The craft will back away from the orbiting laboratory to a safe distance for an engine firing that will enable it to make a planned destructive return through Earth's atmosphere.
ATV-3 will carry the Re-entry Breakup Recorder (REBR) as it descends into Earth's atmosphere. REBR is a system that records data during the re-entry and breakup of the vehicle and returns the data for analysis. Understanding how vehicles behave during re-entry can enhance design efficiencies and safety; potentially remove the need for deorbit propulsion, which could decrease cost and complexity and increase mission life of spacecraft; and could minimize hazards to people and property if spacecraft became uncontrollable and re-entered randomly.
For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
For International Space Station information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station