Paris - A giant supply ship burned up over the South Pacific early on
Wednesday in a self-destruct operation after a six-month mission to the
International Space Station, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.
with rubbish from the ISS, the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)
undocked from the orbital outpost last Friday to begin its final
"Edoardo Amaldi and its waste burnt up harmlessly in the upper atmosphere at 01:30 GMT," ESA said in a press release.
Undocking had been delayed by three days because astronauts had sent the craft a wrong identification code.
after a 20th-century Italian physicist, the Edoardo Amaldi was the
third of five ATVs that Europe is scheduled to supply for the ISS.
robot craft, each the size of a London double-decker bus, are designed
to make one-way trips, hauling up tons of food, water, air, equipment
and other supplies for the ISS crew.
The ATVs also use on-board
engines to boost the ISS, whose altitude drops because it is in low
orbit and dragged by lingering atmospheric molecules.
At the end
of their trip, filled with garbage and human waste, the craft detach and
burn up in a controlled destruction over the least inhabited part of
The final two ATVs should be launched in April 2013 and April 2014 respectively, ESA said.