Tons of batteries are now circling the Earth

On Thursday, March 11th, prof International Space Station Dumped the largest garbage load in its history. According to the information received from Space flight nowNASA got rid of 2.9 tons of batteries That was used at some point in time to provide power to the said station. While the sheer sum may cause anxiety, however NASA Note that the waste It will burn in the atmosphere. Not without spending a few years orbiting the Earth.

The US Space Agency estimates that the shipment It will stay in orbit for two to four years Before entering the atmosphere and burning it: “On Thursday morning, the Houston Mission Control Unit ordered the robotic arm Canadarm2 to launch an outdoor pallet with a charge of old nickel-hydrogen batteries in Earth orbit. It is safely moving away from the station and will orbit the Earth for two years. To four years before it burns in the atmosphere. Without causing harm. »

NASA explains that thanks to the four HTV missions Japan led between 2017 and 2020, the International Space Station Received 24 recent lithium-ion batteries. During this period, astronauts took several tracks to replace 48 old nickel-hydrogen batteries, part of which are now space junk.

Soyuz changed plans for the International Space Station

Typically, the replaced batteries were charged in the HTV, which returned to the atmosphere to burn with their internal charge. However, some debris entered the planet and vanished into the depths of the oceans. The problem is The routine was halted due to the failed launch of Soyuz in 2018.

The above caused at the end of the same year, The HTV will leave the International Space Station without a corresponding garbage platform. And Nick Haigh, the astronaut in charge of providing assistance to replace the batteries, was on the Soyuz ship and was unable to reach the station. He and his companion Alexei Ovchinen landed safely. Of course, the mission’s failure caused a change in the disposal schedule for old batteries.

In 2019 another HTV arrived, but had to pick up a waste pallet that was left behind due to a previous mission’s accident. So, given that the task of replacing the batteries is wrapped up – for now – and the HTV is not being able to take in the last shipment of trash, NASA made the decision to release it. Of course, not being able to return in the transport vehicle, the 2.9-ton pallet had to remain orbiting our planet at a point An altitude of 427 kilometers.

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