Image: Cygnus cargo spacecraft at sunrise
NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik photographed Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo spacecraft at sunrise, prior to its departure from the International Space Station at 8:11 a.m., Dec. 6, 2017. Expedition 53 Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA gave the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm the command to release Cygnus.
Later today, Cygnus will release 14 CubeSats from an external NanoRacks deployer. Cygnus also is packed with more than 6,200 pounds of trash and other items marked for disposal.
The craft will remain in orbit until Monday, Dec. 18, when its engines will fire twice, pushing it into Earth's atmosphere, where it will burn up over the Pacific Ocean.