Albert Einstein Burns up in Re-Entry

The fireball pictured here is the re-entry of the Automated Transfer Vehicle Albert Einstein. Sent into orbit by the European Space Agency (ESA), ATVs are unmanned spaceships that take supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). After docking, the astronauts unload the air, water, food, and other supplies from the ATV, then reload it with over a ton of their garbage (human waste, dirty clothing, etc). While the Albert Einstein was there, it gave the ISS a boost into a higher orbit. Then instead of bringing the space waste back to Earth, the ATV enters the atmosphere and simply burns up! This picture was snapped by an astronaut aboard the ISS on October 28th. See another picture and read more about the ATV at Bad Astronomy.

(Image credit: NASA/ESA)


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