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November 07, 2013 AT 4:30 AM
What's the best thing to do with a $600 million spacecraft when you're finished with it? The International Space Station requires regular shipments of air, water, propellant, and other cargo. Some of those resupply duties are carried out by expendable Automated Transfer Vehicles--or ATVs--from the European Space Agency. When the unmanned Albert Einstein ATV-4 undocked from the ISS late last month, astronauts positioned themselves to watch as it burned up on re-entry. When its cargo was unloaded, the robotic craft was filled with waste material to free up space on the ISS.