Washington (AFP) - Orbital Sciences Corporation's unmanned Cygnus cargo ship disintegrated as planned Sunday as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere after a month-long resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The spacecraft had been released from the orbiting lab on Friday at 6:40 am (1040 GMT), and then stayed in independent orbit for two days, before firing its engines and pushing into Earth's atmosphere.
The de-orbit burn had been scheduled to take just under 30 minutes.
The crew on board the space station watched and documented the spacecraft's plasma trail, posting pictures of the comet-like streak to Twitter.
Cygnus launched July 13 and arrived at the ISS three days later, bearing a load of 3,653 pounds (1,657 kilograms) of gear, food and science experiments.
The resupply mission was part of a billion dollar contract with NASA for multiple journeys to the ISS.