Astronauts aboard the International Space Station got a front-row seat to watch some rare “fireworks” in the atmosphere.
On Wednesday (November 29), Russia’s Progress MS-23 cargo spacecraft departed the International Space Station (ISS) carrying a payload of waste no longer needed at the orbital outpost. Specifically, the spacecraft was carrying “old equipment and household waste, or whatever experts decided to throw out of the station,” Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko said. Tell Russian media TASS.
Just four hours after Progress MS-23 separated, NASA astronaut Yasmine Moghbeli was able to locate the returning spacecraft and capture images of it as it burned up in Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in some stunning images from aboard the International Space Station. .
“It happened faster than I thought and was only visible for about 2-3 minutes. It reminded me of some fireworks, especially when they went off,” Moghbeli said. Written on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday. “Thank you to those on the ground who helped direct me to where to look!”
Related: The Russian cargo spacecraft completes its mission with a fiery return to Earth
Most of the spacecraft and its contents were burned up at high altitudes above Earth, but some of the material reached the Pacific Ocean, Russian space agency Roscosmos reported. mentioned Wednesday.
These fiery returns are standard practice for non-reusable cargo vehicles departing the International Space Station. Two of the three spacecraft currently used to deliver cargo, Russia’s Progress capsule and Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, are routinely jettisoned into the atmosphere once their supplies are delivered, and space is needed at the station’s docking ports to deliver new cargo.
However, the third spacecraft currently used for these cargo operations, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, is able to return home for safe landing and future reuse.
Another Progress spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:25 a.m. EDT (0925 GMT) on Friday, December 1, carrying three tons of food, fuel and other supplies for the astronauts and cosmonauts currently there. On board the space station. As part of the Expedition 70 mission.
Docking is set for 6:14 a.m. EDT (1114 GMT) on Sunday (December 3). You can watch the launch and docking process here on Space.com, when the time comes.
“Web maven. Infuriatingly humble beer geek. Bacon fanatic. Typical creator. Music expert.”