Europe's ATV space tug is advancing toward an inaugural mission to the International Space Station next year, following completion of full-scale rendezvous and docking tests last week. However, meeting the deadline will be a challenge, planners acknowledge. The test was the 17th and final main functional system test for the ATV, and one of the most critical because--unlike for the U.S. space shuttle or Russian Progress and Soyuz spacecraft--docking will be fully automatic, as the ...


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