Heads Up! Space Station Trash To Plunge To Earth Sunday | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 09.26.16

Airborne 09.27.16

Airborne 09.28.16

Airborne 09.29.16

Airborne 09.23.16

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 09.26.16

Airborne 09.27.16

Airborne 09.28.16

Airborne 09.29.16

Airborne 09.23.16

Sun, Nov 02, 2008

Heads Up! Space Station Trash To Plunge To Earth Sunday

Pieces Of 1,400-Pound Coolant Tank Will Survive Re-Entry

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the US Space Surveillance Network are tracking a 1,400-pound tank of toxic ammonia coolant jettisoned over a year ago from the International Space Station.

During the last year, the ammonia tank's orbit has slowly degraded due to gravity and atmospheric drag. Expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere Sunday afternoon or evening, the exact location where the refrigerator-sized tank will land remains unknown.

In a recent interview, NASA space station program manager Mike Suffredini said, "This has got a very low likelihood that anybody will be impacted by it. But still, it is a large object and pieces will enter and we just need to be cautious."

NASA expects as many as 15 pieces of the tank to survive the intense heat of re-entry, ranging in size from about 1.4 ounces to nearly 40 pounds, according to MSNBC.

The largest piece of orbital trash ever tossed overboard, the Early Ammonia Servicer coolant tank was discarded by NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson during a July 23, 2007 spacewalk. An unneeded 212-pound video camera stand was jettisoned at the same time, burning up harmlessly in its descent through the atmosphere earlier this year, Suffredini said.

The tank was originally used as a coolant reservoir, boosting the Space Station's cooling system in the event of leaks. Last year's upgrades to the station made the tank obsolete, but engineers were doubtful it could withstand a ride back to Earth aboard a NASA space shuttle.

"As a matter of course, we don't throw things overboard haphazardly," Suffredini said. "We have a policy that has certain criteria we have to meet before you can throw something overboard."

While astronauts have accidentally lost a tool or two during spacewalks, the planned jettison of larger items is done with the utmost care to ensure the trash doesn't hit the station or any other spacecraft as it circles the Earth, Suffredini said. Engineers also make sure the risk to people on Earth is low.

Should re-entry occur over land, NASA advises that the public should contact local authorities, or the US Department of State via diplomatic channels if outside of the US, if they believe they've found the remains of the tank.

"If anybody found a piece of anything on the ground Monday morning, I would hope they wouldn't get too close to it," Suffredini said.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 09.27.16: EAA's 200K!, MilPilots Get Break, UAV Pilot Applications

Also: GPS Sat, Aero-Calendar, B-21 Raider, Boeing 777X, Tecnam P2002JF, NBAA Honors Louis Seno, Alaska-Virgin Merger EAA has reached a major milestone, as the association has surpa>[...]

BlackSky Pathfinder Satellite Launched Aboard India’s PSLV

Paves The Way For 60-Satellite Constellation To Deliver High-Resolution Satellite Imaging The BlackSky Pathfinder-1 satellite was successuflly launched into a sun synchronous orbit>[...]

Several Injured By Helicopter Rotorwash At Boy Scout Event

Arriving Helo Blew Several Canoes Into A Crowd On Shore It was supposed to be the celebration of the introduction of a new program to introduce young kids to the Boy Scouts. It wou>[...]

FAA: Parachutes Did Not Open In Tandem Jump Accident

First-Time Skydiver And Instructor Fatally Injured In August The FAA has determined that a first time skydiver and his instructor were fatally injured in an accident August 6th, 20>[...]

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants To Vote On New Agreement

Balloting To Take Place From October 16 - 31 Southwest Airlines Co. has announced that the Executive Board of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556, the Union that represents our>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2016 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC