Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Tim Peake of the European Space Agency (ESA) took this photograph on April 6, 2016, as the International Space Station flew over Madagascar, showing three of the five spacecraft docked to the station. A sixth spacecraft soon joined on April 10: a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft carrying 6,900 pounds of science, crew supplies and hardware.
Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo craft, visible at the left of this image, was bolted into place on the Earth-facing port of the station’s Unity module on March 26, 2016, and was released by the Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm on June 14, 2016.
Cygnus carried the Spacecraft Fire Experiment-1 (Saffire-1), the first of a three-part experiment to investigate large-scale flame spread and material flammability limits in long-duration microgravity. Cygnus orbited Earth for eight days as it transmitted high-resolution imagery and data from the Saffire experiment. Following complete data transmission, Cygnus completed its destructive entry into Earth’s atmosphere on June 22.
An image captured by ESA astronaut Tim Peake shows several spacecraft simultaneously tethered to the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA/NASA)