Cygnus departs space station filled with trash

Published On: Feb 18 2014 08:17:58 AM EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

The International Space Station has one less capsule and a lot less trash.

A commercial cargo ship ended its five-week visit Tuesday morning. NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins used the space station's big robot arm to release the capsule, called Cygnus.

Cygnus is filled with garbage and will burn up when it plunges through the atmosphere Wednesday.

Orbital Sciences Corp. launched the capsule last month from Virginia under a $1.9 billion contract with NASA. The Cygnus delivered 3,000 pounds of goods, including belated Christmas gifts for the six-man crew and hundreds of ants for a student experiment.

The ants are still aboard the space station. They'll return to Earth aboard another company's supply ship, the SpaceX Dragon.

NASA is paying Orbital Sciences and SpaceX to keep the space station stocked.

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