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Jason DavisFebruary 19, 2016

In Pictures: Cygnus Takes out the Trash

Early this morning, astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra released a Cygnus cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station. Cygnus, which arrived in December, spent more than two months on orbit—longer than originally planned, giving the crew more time to fill the spacecraft with trash.

Flight controllers at Orbital ATK in Virginia will send Cygnus into Earth's atmosphere for a controlled reentry Saturday morning. The next ISS resupply flight is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, when a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket sends another Cygnus craft into orbit

Prior to that, one-year cremembers Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, along with cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, will return to Earth on March 1. About two weeks later, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skriprochka and Alexey Ovchinin will launch to the station aboard Soyuz TMA-20M, joining the crew of Expedition 47.

Here are some images and video from today's Cygnus departure.

#Cygnus departs station at 7:26am ET/12:26pm UTC for Saturday deorbit over Pacific Ocean... https://t.co/04ofREJvXt https://t.co/LV8UOEpNRm

— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) February 19, 2016
Cygnus OA-4 and Soyuz TMA-19M

Tim Peake / ESA / NASA

Cygnus OA-4 and Soyuz TMA-19M
Cygnus OA-4 moved into position for release

Scott Kelly / NASA

Cygnus OA-4 moved into position for release
Cygnus OA-4 over Bolivia

Scott Kelly / NASA

Cygnus OA-4 over Bolivia
Cygnus OA-4 departure

Tim Peake / ESA / NASA

Cygnus OA-4 departure
Into the void

Scott Kelly / NASA

Into the void
Cygnus OA-4 slips into darkness after being released from the International Space Station.
Empty Canadarm

Tim Peake / ESA / NASA

Empty Canadarm
The International Space Station's robotic Canadarm is empty after releasing the OA-4 Cygnus resupply vehicle.

Read more: commercial spaceflight, pretty pictures, human spaceflight, International Space Station

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Jason Davis

Journalist and Digital Editor for The Planetary Society
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