HOUSTON, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- At some point on Sunday, nearly 3,300 pounds of trash will burn up in the Earth's atmosphere, disposing of waste produced by the International Space Station and giving astronauts a chance to study atmospheric re-entry.
Astronauts aboard the ISS bid farewell to the "SS Janice Voss" Cygnus resupply ship at roughly 6:40 a.m. Friday, about 90 minutes after unberthing it from the station. Using a Canadian-built robotic arm called an SSRMS, the resupply craft was held ten meters from the station, allowing it to safely use its own thrusters to detach and successfully ascend into it's planned orbit.
Launched on July 16 filled with over 3,600 pounds of supplies -- including equipment, food, mini-satellites and clothing -- the Janice Voss now contains just under 3,300 pounds of waste from the space station that will burn up in Earth's atmosphere on Sunday.
"I am very proud of our Antares and Cygnus teams for their exceptional performance on the mission to deliver vital equipment and supplies to the crew aboard the Station," David W. Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Orbital Sciences said in a statement. Orbital Sciences is a private company that built the Cygnus and works with NASA on certain missions.
"I also want to pay tribute to our former Orbital colleague and NASA astronaut, the late Dr. Janice Voss, for whom this spacecraft is dedicated."
Janice Voss flew on five orbital missions before dying in 2012 at the age 55.