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Last Updated: Friday April 04 2008 05:56 GMT

Robot space truck docks with IS

The ATV on its way to the International Space Station

Europe's huge new space truck has docked with the International Space Station (ISS).

The unmanned Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) will deliver about five tonnes of food, water, air, fuel and equipment to the three astronauts at the station.

The ATV is Europe's biggest and most complicated spacecraft, and this is its first mission.

Using its own computer systems, it attached itself to the back of the ISS on Thursday afternoon.

Controllers were on standby on Earth, but they didn't need to do anything as the docking wnet exactly as planned.

The ATV has taken 11 years to build, cost about three quarters of a billion pounds and weighs a whopping 20 tonnes.

Rubbish bin

It's taken three weeks for the spacecraft to reach the ISS and when it's been unloaded it will be used as a giant rubbish bin.

Up to 6.5 tonnes of waste from the space station will be pumped into the truck before it heads back to Earth.

FOLLOW THE PATH OF THE ISS OR ATV