The European Space Agency's Jules Verne craft has been formally cleared to proceed with the first International Space Station docking attempt, scheduled for 3 April at 16:41 CEST (GMT+0200).
The official go-ahead came from the International Space Station Mission Management Team after two "flawless" demonstration days in which the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle proved its operational capabilities.
"We have proven that Jules Verne's systems are safe, reliable and ready to dock to the Station," said John Ellwood, ESA's ATV project manager.
"Everyone has worked very hard to get to this point, and we have also proved that the team on the ground is fully ready for tomorrow's first attempt."
The Jules Verne conducted a series of "challenging manoeuvres" on Demo Day 2, held on 31 March, confirming that the craft could autonomously navigate using optical guidance keeping just 11 metres from the Space Station.
The craft also reacted to an 'Escape' command issued by astronauts onboard the Space Station, proving that the vessel can automatically withdraw to a safe location when commanded to do so.
Today's manoeuvre will see Jules Verne actually dock with the Russian ISS module's docking port.
The rendezvous and docking will be monitored from ESA's ATV Control Centre in Toulouse in cooperation with the Russian control centre in Moscow and the Nasa control centre in Houston.
The rendezvous and docking will be broadcast live by ESA TV at 16:00-17:15 CEST.
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