HOUSTON-- A cargo resupply demonstration mission by Orbital Sciences Corp. drew to a close Tuesday as the International Space Station detached and released the Dulles-based Cygnus spacecraft from the orbiting laboratory.

Cygnus, which was launched from Wallops Island on September 18, had been attached to the space station's Harmony module for 23 days. Itdelivered about 1,300 pounds of cargo, including food, clothing and student experiments.

Prior to its departure from the station, Cygnus was loaded with items no longer needed aboard the station. The astronauts aboard the station detached the spacecraft using the station's robotic arm and released Cygnus at 7:31 a.m. EDT.

Orbital Sciences engineers now will conduct a series of planned burns and maneuvers to move Cygnus toward a destructive re-entry in Earth's atmosphere on Wednesday.

Cygnus was launched Sept. 18th on an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

The mission was part of a $1.9 billion NASA contract to deliver essential cargo to the International Space Station.

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