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Amazing Night Launch Photos: Europe's ATV-3 Cargo Ship Blasts Off

ATV-3 Optical Image Seen from the Ground

Ralf Vandebergh

Skywatcher Ralf Vandebergh sent this image of the ATV-3 spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station, taken March 25, 2012. He writes: " ... solar panels visible from a low angle. Obtained using a 10inch reflector and manually tracking."

ATV-3 Approaches the International Space Station

NASA

European Space Agency's "Edoardo Amaldi" Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) approaches the International Space Station.on March 28, 2012.

ATV-3 Nearing the International Space Station

NASA

European Space Agency's "Edoardo Amaldi" Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) nears the International Space Station, on March 28, 2012.

ATV-3 Floating Near International Space Station

NASA

European Space Agency's "Edoardo Amaldi" Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) docked to the International Space Station at 6:31 p.m. (EDT) on March 28, 2012,

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Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.