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Northrop Grumman's S.S. Sally Ride departs International Space Station
Northrop Grumman's S.S. Sally Ride departs International Space Station
by Clyde Hughes
Washington DC (UPI) Apr 21, 2023

Northrop Grumman's autonomous Cygnus spaceship will leave the International Space Station on Friday morning carrying away more than 8,000 pounds of trash from the orbiting laboratory,

The S.S. Sally Ride, named after the first U.S. female astronaut, departed from the Unity module of the International Space Station at about 7:20 a.m. EDT.

It burned n up in a planned re-entry into the atmosphere shortly afterward.

"Following a deorbit engine firing later in the 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," NASA said ahead of the departure.

United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi oversaw the spacecraft's systems as flight controllers on the ground controlled the ISS's Canadarm2 robotic arm to remove the S.S. Sally Ride from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module.

In November, the spacecraft blasted off from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to bring experiments to the ISS in addition to carrying the first satellites from Uganda and Zimbabwe as part of the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Project-5. Those help distinguish bare ground from forest and farmland and indicate the quality of agricultural growth.

Cygnus, one of three spacecraft that sends cargo to the ISS, was designed to eventually burn up in the Earth's atmosphere along with Russia's Progress space vehicle. SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft is designed to splash down for reuse.

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