The International Space Station A little lighter last week.
The orbiting laboratory disposed of the 2.9 tons (2.6 metric tons) of used batteries Thursday morning (March 11) – the largest object ever disposed of, NASA spokeswoman Leah Cheshire said. Gizmodo said.
The Space junk It is expected to return to Earth in two to four years, agency officials wrote in an update last week. This update also mentioned that the pallet will burn “harmlessly in the atmosphere,” but not everyone is convinced that this is the case.
“This amazes me (haha, a pun under the circumstances) as dangerous. Seems big and dense and unlikely to burn completely,” astronomer and author Phil Plett, whose ‘Bad Astronomy’ blog is on Syfy Wire, He wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Yes, on the other hand, for example Tiangong-1 was 7,500 kg [kilograms], Much larger. But I would say that given how intense EP9 is, it’s alarming, albeit at the low end of anxiety, ‘ Astronomer and satellite Jonathan McDowell respondedIt is based at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Tiangong-1 was the first prototype space station in China, which hosted astronaut crews in 2012 and 2013. The vehicle the size of a school bus ended up. Down to earth Over the South Pacific in April 2018.
EP9, short for “Exposed Pallet 9”, is something that was recently phased out. EP9 arrived at station last year aboard a Japanese H-II transport vehicle (HTV), as part of efforts to replace old nickel-hydrogen batteries in the orbiting laboratory with new lithium-ion ones – an extended process that has required a number of spacewalks over the past five years .
Previously, old batteries were packed in a disposable HTV, which carried them to their doom in Earth’s atmosphere. But the failure of the launch of the Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Haigh and astronaut Alexei Ovchinen in October 2018 disrupted this pattern. Spaceflight is now reported. (The Hague and Ovchinen ended up landing safely, thanks to their Soyuz capsule launch abort system.) He climbed EP9 in the ninth and final HTV race, which means he was left without a doomsday flight.
So the space station managers decided to get rid of the pallet full of batteries. NASA officials wrote in the update Thursday, that ground controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston have ordered the laboratory’s 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm to launch EP9 into orbit.
An SUV sized pallet has a lot of junk in space. According to the European Space Agency, Researchers estimate that Earth’s orbit is filled with about 34,000 debris objects no less than 4 inches (10 cm) wide and 128 million pieces 1 mm wide or larger.
Mike Wall is the author ofAbroad“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; drawing by Karl Tate), a book on the search for an alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.