An unpiloted Russian Progress cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) Monday, completing its second and final undocking from the station since arriving in late November 2013.
The ISS Progress 53 resupply craft undocked from the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 9:29 a.m. EDT as the station orbited over Mongolia.
From a window in the Russian segment of the station, Expedition 40 Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov photographed the departing Progress cargo ship as it began a 15-second separation burn to move a safe distance away from the orbiting complex (above.)
A 3-minute, 16-second deorbit burn beginning at 12:34 p.m. will slow the progress for its destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean less than an hour later. Progress resupply ships are not designed to be recovered, so, like its predecessors, Progress 53 was refilled with trash and station discards after its original cargo was unloaded by the station crew.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.