March 15 (UPI) -- A pallet of batteries was released from the International Space Station, becoming the heaviest single piece of junk ever jettisoned from the station.
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- International Space Station Inside
Mission controllers in Houston commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release an external pallet loaded with the 2.9 tons of nickel-hydrogen batteries into Earth's orbit Thursday morning.
International Space Station Inside View
Flying some 240 miles above Earth's surface at 17,500 miles an hour, the International Space Station (ISS) is a science laboratory dedicated to helping humans learn how to live in space. One big perk of international cooperation on the station is the advancement of the space food frontier. Astronauts and cosmonauts regularly gather on both sides of the station to share meals and barter food items. Roscosmos’ contribution to the food rations is the unique assortment of canned delicacies from traditional Russian cuisine. Space station ses 1 noaa 19 goes 13 noaa 15 noaa 18 terra aqua metop-b suomi npp goes 15 fox-1a (ao-85) saudisat 1c kms-4 tiangong 1 meteor m2 asiasat 3s nss 12 agile measat 3b more. The fully assembled International Space Station is a wonder of engineering. It has a mass of nearly a million pounds (420,000 kg) and can host six astronauts at a time in the equivalent habitable. WHO IS IN SPACE is a project created by Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day. The goal of this project is to spread the amazing actions, feats and words of the men and women currently aboard the International Space Station.
International Space Station Inside Layout
'It is safely moving away from the station and will orbit Earth between two to four years before burning up harmlessly in the atmosphere,' NASA said in a statement.
NASA representative Leah Cheshier confirmed to Gizmodo that the pallet is the largest object 'mass wise' ever to be dispelled from the ISS.
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'More than twice the mass of the Early Ammonia Servicing System tank jettisoned by spacewalker Clay Anderson during the STS-118 mission in 2007,' Cheshier said.
The external pallet was left on the space station by the final HTV supply ship last May, as the batteries were replaced with more powerful lithium-ion power storage units.
International Space Station Inside
Originally, the batteries were supposed to be placed inside an HTV and released from the ISS burning up upon re-entry> However a tedious spacewalk Feb. 1 by astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover disrupted the mission schedule and left the pallet attached to the space station.
Cheshier assured that ballistics officers 'indicate no threat' of the pallet colliding with other space objects, but added that it will be tracked by the U.S. Space Command.