Unmanned Russian space freighter leaves space station toward fiery end

April 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM

GREENBELT, Md., April 15 (UPI) -- An unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft left the International Space Station early Monday, making way for the next Russian space freighter, NASA said.

The ISS Progress 49 resupply ship, which spent more than five months attached to the station's Zvezda service module, was undocked at 8:02 a.m. EDT, the space agency reported.

After firing its thrusters to slowly move away from the ISS, Progress 49 will re-enter Earth's atmosphere Sunday and will burn up over the Pacific Ocean, officials said.

Its departure clears the way for the arrival of the ISS Progress 51 cargo craft that will ferry more than 3 tons of food, fuel, supplies and experiment hardware to the six crew members aboard the orbital laboratory.

Progress 51 is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan April 24 and dock with the station two days later, NASA said.

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