It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a … grease gun?

by lestro

Last week during a space walk, Captain Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper “dropped” a tool bag worth approximately $100,000.

Dropped isn’t really the right word. It barely slipped away from her glove and floated out of reach, but in space, that was enough to put the bag – about the size of a hiker’s backpack – into orbit.

It’s about 1,000 feet in front of the International Space Station and should eventually burn up in the atmosphere. It is currently about 220 miles up and cruising along at about 17,500 mph.

Even better, the bag is now visible from earth. Read more of this post

Hooray! More Flaming Space Garbage!

by twit

Leonid meteor shower image via Eideard

Via MSNBC:

NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson, an Expedition 15 flight engineer, tosses a hefty unneeded ammonia tank the size of a refrigerator overboard from the space station during a July 23, 2007 spacewalk. The tank is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere on Nov. 2, 2008.

… Known as the Early Ammonia Servicer, or EAS, the coolant tank is the largest piece of orbital trash ever tossed overboard by hand from the space station.

… Exactly where the tank will inevitably fall is currently unknown, though it is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere Sunday afternoon or later that evening, NASA officials said.

It’s shootin’ time!

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I told you to go before we left the planet

by lestro

Houston, we have a problem.

Four words you don’t want to hear in space:

“The toilet is broken.”

Space is a long way to try and hold it. Try sitting on the edge of the capsule and crossing your legs.

Russian mission control told the crew — Russian Cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Oleg Kononenko, and Garrett Reisman, a NASA astronaut, to use the toilet on the Soyuz capsule that is attached to the station as a lifeboat. But that system has very limited capacity, and so repairing the system has become an increasingly urgent issue.

“Increasingly urgent.” I like that.

I know when my toilet is busted or the water in my building is turned off for repairs, things can get a bit, um, difficult for me, but at least I am not 217 miles away from the closest toilet. Or tree.

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