The image to the right, with a view of Earth’s thin atmosphere in the background, was taken just before Cygnus was released from the ISS on October 22, 2013.
The commercial spacecraft was built by Orbital Sciences Corp. and was sent into space from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia on Sept. 18.
A technical glitch after launch forced that company to abort a scheduled docking with the ISS on Sept. 22.
As technicians worked to correct the issue, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft carried a new crew to the orbital platform as Cygnus hovered just below.
Cygnus eventually was captured by the robotic arms of the ISS on Sept. 29 and spent nearly a month attached to the station.
The Cygnus spacecraft is a silver pressurized 17-foot-long cylinder, powered by an Orbital-built service module containing two solar wings for power, as well as rocket thrusters.
But despite its complexity, it is also designed to be disposable, like similar unmanned Russian, European and Japanese cargo ships that also service the ISS.
After Cygnus was set free on October 22, its fate was to burn up while reentering Earth’s atmosphere.