ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle Edoardo Amaldi is set to undock from the International Space Station tonight at 22:35 GMT (00:35 CEST).
Mission controllers will steer ATV-3 during 28 hours of free flight, ending with a controlled destructive reentry during the night of 26/27 September.
The past days have seen the Station crew loading final waste and rubbish for disposal, photographing and videoing the interior as a final record and closing the vessel’s hatch.
Last week, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko performed the final transfers of urine from the Station into ATV’s Tanks 1 and 3.
Later, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide loaded and re-arranged rubbish inside ATV.
Yesterday, ATV’s hatch was closed for the last time at 16:55 GMT (18:55 CEST).
Undocking will start the 28-hour countdown to reentry, during which the vessel will be controlled around the clock by the joint ESA/CNES mission team at the Control Centre in Toulouse, France.
Reentry will begin shortly after 02:30 GMT (04:30 CEST) on 27 September, with impact in an unpopulated area of the South Pacific expected around 03:30 GMT (05:30 CEST).
Source: European Space Agency (ESA)
Date: Sep 26, 2012