This is what 1.6-tons of space station garbage looks like on re-entry

Four days ago, the Albert Einstein ATV re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and was destroyed as planned. The ESA managed to snap this spectacular pic as the carrier — filled with human waste, dirty clothes, and other detritus — went aflame over the Pacific Ocean.

The mission ended on October 28 after the successful transfer of 7 tons of supplies, propellant, and experimental equipment to the International Space Station. The unmanned ATV, which stands for Automated Transfer Vehicle, brought over 1,400 items to the ISS, and then hung around for another five months.

The image above was taken from the ISS when the Albert Einstein was about 100 km directly below it — just as it began its fateful plunge into the atmosphere. It's the first view of an ATV re-entry since 2008 when the Jules Verne did the same.

Here's a looping video that was put together using several images taken during the descent. (Credit: Vladimir Jankijevic)

And this is what it looked like prior to its fiery destruction (credit ESA):

This is what 1.6-tons of space station garbage looks like on re-entry

[ Source: ESA including images ]