(video) A last view of ESA's ATV-3, with ISS, FIA Radar 1 and an old Russian Soyuz upper stage
This morning near 3:39 UTC (5:39 am local time), Europeans could witness the last visible pass of ESA's Space Freighter ATV-3 'Edoardo Amaldi' on its way to the International Space Station (ISS), less than a day away from docking to the ISS in the night of March 28/29.
I watched, photographed and filmed the pass from Leiden: footage shot with the WATEC 902H + 1.4/12mm lens, and a photograph made with the Canon EOS 450D + EF 2.0/35mm lens, can be seen above.
I got a very fine view with more than just the ISS and ATV visible. Just before the ISS became visible around 3:56 UTC a bit of bright (mag +1) space-debris, an old Russian
The video ends with ATV-3 descending in the east and disappearing behind the roof of our appartement building.
I wish to thank Laurent Arzel (ESA) for providing me with predicted orbital elements with manoeuvres of ATV-3 taken into account. Some web-based satellite prediction services (and surprisingly, the German DLR in a tweet) used "old" elements from the 27th, that lead to erroneous pass times (off by over 5 minutes: these suggested the ATV was leading the ISS by 2.5 minutes, while in reality it was following by 2.5 to 3 minutes!). Thanks to Laurent's elements, I could plan for the correct situation and point some fellow amateur observers to the correct pass times.
With docking less than half a day away as I write this, our Dutch astronaut André Kuipers onboard ISS can look forward to fresh supplies of Dutch cheese soon!