Cygnus Departs Station after Robotic Release

Cygnus Released from Station
The Cygnus spacecraft is released from the International Space Station’s Canadarm2. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 46 astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra of NASA commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft at 7:26 a.m. EST while the space station was flying above Bolivia. Earlier, ground controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center had maneuvered Cygnus into place for its departure.

Once the spacecraft is a safe distance from the station, its engines will fire twice, pushing it into Earth’s atmosphere where it will burn up over the Pacific Ocean. The deorbit burn and re-entry of Cygnus will not air on NASA TV.

The Cygnus resupply craft arrived to the space station on Dec. 9, following Dec. 6 launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, for the company’s fourth NASA-contracted commercial station resupply mission.

Experiments delivered on Cygnus supported NASA and other research investigations during Expeditions 45 and 46, in areas such as biology, biotechnology, and physical and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

5 thoughts on “Cygnus Departs Station after Robotic Release”

  1. Thank you, Cygnus, for successfully delivering supplies including the Storytime from Space books! I co- authored one of them and it has been an incredible thrill watching this journey – forever grateful to have witnessed firsthand our technological accomplishments and the skill and dedication of the team that makes the Space Station possible!

  2. I was just watching the ISS flyover in North Carolina, 6:51 PM, when I thought I saw another object following. The speed and the direction matched the ISS, so I was wondering if this was the recently released Cygnus spacecraft? Feb. 19th, 2016.

  3. I enjoy reading about NASA’s missions, but there is a problem I have with reading the articles. The background appears to be a very light gray and the text appears to be a medium gray, i.e. low contrast. Is there a purpose in essentially making the text less readable? It’s not unreadable, but it would be a whole lot easier on my eyes if the text were black and the background white. I’m 62 years old, so I guess it might just be me, but I don’t quite know why one would make the text in a lower contrast than black and white, if readability is the goal.

  4. Why are the Cygnus resupply vessels not being reused for anything. Habitat on the moon? why not corral them for use somewhere else like the asteroid belt. daisy chain them together with and move them with a thruster or ion propulsion. seems like a waste to burn up.

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