At 12:32 p.m. EDT, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft from the Canadarm2 robotic arm after earlier detaching Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying 270 miles over southern Wyoming.
The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the International Space Station four months after arriving at the space station to deliver about 8,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory.
After departure, Cygnus will remain in orbit to deploy five cube satellites, including the Ionosphere Thermosphere Scanning Photometer for Ion-Neutral Studies (IT-SPINS), which will add to researchers’ fundamental understanding of Earth’s Ionosphere, and the Khalifa University Students Satellite-2 (MYSat-2), which will train graduate students through the development and evaluation of its software.
Thursday evening Cygnus will perform a deorbit engine firing to set up a destructive re-entry in which the spacecraft, filled with waste the space station crew packed, will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
As one cargo spacecraft departs the station, another is preparing to launch and deliver more than 3,600 pounds of supplies. Beginning at 7 p.m., NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will provide live coverage of the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan of Russia’s Progress 78 cargo spacecraft on a Soyuz 2.1a rocket at 7:27 p.m. (4:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, Baikonur time).
For departure coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.