An unmanned European cargo ship, the Edoardo Amaldi Automated Transfer Vehicle-3, to be specific, has disembarked from the International Space Station on Friday, and with the right set of eyes, one could say it resembles a fictional X-Wing fighter from the Star Wars films.
Spaceflightnow.com reports that the 15.5-ton cargo capsule was on a six-month mission to resupply the space station, and after some delays, has disembarked and set a course for its fiery demise over the Pacific Ocean. The ATV-3 was scheduled to leave several days ago, but a computer glitch, and then risks from space junk delayed it until Friday.
The spacecraft delivered 7.2 tons of food, water and other supplies to the International Space Station before its flawless departure Friday. Space.com reported that the craft is craft is a huge cylinders 32 feet long and nearly 15 feet wide. With its four X-wing-like solar arrays unfurled, one really could mistake the craft for one of rebel vessels piloted by Luke Skywalker.
While Skywalker successfully piloted his X-Wing around the risks of the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope, the ATV-3’s mission will meet a different end. After being packed with all manner of garbage and other unneeded supplies from the space station, it will act like cosmic garbage incinerator, burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday.
The vessel is so large that it can be viewed from Earth. It will appear as a bright moving light in the night sky if weather conditions are right. Skywatchers can visit NASA’s SkyWatch website to see if the the X-Wing-like craft will be flying over their location.