At 7:22 a.m. EDT, Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was released from the Canadarm2 robotic arm which earlier detached Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station’s Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying southwest of Ireland.
The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the space station more than five months after arriving at the microgravity laboratory to deliver about 8,200 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo for NASA.
Following a deorbit engine firing later Friday evening, Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft – filled with trash packed by the station crew – will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Cygnus arrived at the space station Nov. 10, following a launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 18th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA. Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft “S.S. Sally Ride” after late NASA astronaut, physicist, and first American woman to fly in space, Sally Ride, launched on an Antares rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops.
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