U.S. Commercial Cargo Ship Departs the Space Station Headed for a Destructive Reentry

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo ship, dubbed the “SS Alan Poindexter”, was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm Nov. 21, bound for a destructive entry over the Pacific Ocean after delivering some three tons of supplies and scientific experiments to the orbital outpost. Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA released Cygnus with the assistance of Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) to complete Cygnus’ month-long supply run to the station. Now filled with trash, Cygnus will move to a safe distance away from the complex for a series of engine firings Nov. 27 that will send the craft plunging back into the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will harmlessly break up over the Pacific Ocean.

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