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ATV-3 Arrives at Station
The ATV-3 approaches the station.

This camera view shows the ATV-3 and its distinct "x-wing" solar arrays moments from docking with Zvezda. Credit: NASA TV

The “Edoardo Amaldi” Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) docked automatically to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 6:31 p.m. EDT Wednesday March 28, 2012. Initial hatch opening was scheduled for Thursday to install air ducts. The final ingress by the crew was planned for Friday when the crew will begin unloading 7.2 tons of food, fuel and supplies.

› Watch the ATV-3 approach and docking
› Read more about ATV-3

The six-member Expedition 30 crew adjusted its sleep schedule to accommodate the ATV-3 docking. The crew stayed up late to monitor the approach and docking. They went to sleep at 9:30 p.m. and woke up Thursday morning at 6:00.

Flight Engineers Andre Kuipers and Oleg Kononenko monitored the ATV-3’s approach along with ATV flight controllers in Toulouse, France. The ATV-3 launched 5-1/2 days ago from the European space port in Kourou, French Guiana.

Commander Dan Burbank closed the cupola’s shutters on the space station to protect the windows from possible exhaust plumes from the ATV-3. He also temporarily shut down the station’s wireless system to prevent interference with the ATV-3’s arrival. Burbank also photographed and videotaped the cargo craft’s approach and docking.