Garbage on International Space Station- here is how NASA throws it out in space
ISS crew members now have a new way to dispose of garbage on the space station.
The rising number of satellite launches and spacecraft are causing a tremendous amount of traffic in space. Not just that, there is so much space junk floating around in Earth orbit that it threatens the lives of those on the International Space Station (ISS). However, here we focus on the garbage generated on the ISS, which too is adding to the trash floating in space. Massive amounts of trash is created by those living in Space. Now, there's some good news for the astronauts, at least! The crew members on the ISS have got a new way to dispose of garbage. The International Space Station has recently ejected roughly 172 pounds (78 kilograms) of garbage within a specialized trash bag on July 2 from the station's commercial Bishop Airlock, Nanoracks informed in a press release. Nanoracks created these airlock systems to dispose of garbage in space.
"We have some incredibly exciting news to share from the weekend: as of 7:05 PM Central on Saturday, July 2, we successfully cycled the Bishop Airlock aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and deployed Nanoracks' first-of-its-kind technology to dispose of approximately 172 lbs of waste from the station!" Nanoracks announced in a statement. This was a test of new orbital waste-disposal tech conducted by Nanoracks in collaboration with NASA's Johnson Space Center and according to the report, it went swimmingly well.
Till now, Astronauts aboard the ISS used to collect trash and store it in their orbiting home for months. It is the Cygnus cargo vehicle which used to arrive and collect their bags of trash before it was released from the space station for de-orbit. Later, the entire spacecraft filled with the bags of garbage used to burn up while reentering the Earth's atmosphere. But now, with this new waste disposal system, the ISS crew can fill the container with up to 600 lbs of trash, which will then be released and the Airlock is re-mounted empty.
Congrats to @Nanoracks for successfully leveraging the #BishopAirlock to dispose of 172 pounds of waste from the #ISS! This is a momentous occasion for the company as they have developed a new way to sustainably handle disposal in #space. https://t.co/Plth3K7DGa pic.twitter.com/0wObTT3Jek— Voyager Space (@VoyagerSH) July 6, 2022
"..individual pieces of hardware have been jettisoned from ISS, and a few bundles of equipment have been hand jettisoned during spacewalks, this is the first use of an airlock trash bag ejection system on the ISS," a tweet by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reads.
This might be the first time for ISS to dispose of garbage in an Airlock disposable system, but it is not new to space flights! Yes, the same trash disposal system was earlier used a number of times. McDowell says in another tweet, “Worth recalling that trash bags were regularly jettisoned from the Soviet Salyut space stations in the 1970s and 1980s."
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