Aug 3, 2009 | 1
A tool bag lost by a spacewalking astronaut in November appears to have met its end after more than eight months in orbit. The chief scientist at NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office says the tool kit should have reentered the atmosphere this morning. "We are waiting on a post-reentry assessment of time and location," to be completed later today by military space monitors, says Nicholas Johnson, who is based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The bag's anticipated reentry was noted over the weekend by Universe Today, which predicted a fireball over the Pacific Ocean at 9:16 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) as the kit completely burned up in the atmosphere.
Jul 16, 2009 | 2
The damage to space shuttle Endeavour's heat shield during its ascent yesterday does not appear to be dangerous, NASA officials said today in a press briefing. Multiple debris strikes occurred as pieces of foam insulation from the external fuel tank fell off as the orbiter rose into the sky, but Endeavour appears not to have suffered significant damage.
"From an orbiter standpoint, there is nothing that we have seen on the orbiter that causes us any concern," space shuttle program manager John Shannon said. He added that the primary concern was not for this mission but for the prevention of similar occurrences in future launches. A photograph of the external tank after separation from the shuttle showed roughly a dozen areas where the foam insulation was missing.
Nov 3, 2008 | 4
Anyone spot a refrigerator-sized tank of ammonia recently? It could be the largest-ever piece of astronaut litter chucked by hand from the International Space Station.
Astronaut Clayton Anderson tossed the coolant tank during a July 23, 2007 spacewalk after upgrades to the space station made it obsolete. The Early Ammonia Servicer (EAS) tank had served as a reservoir for the station in case its cooling system leaked.
The 1,400-pounds (635 kilograms) of debris was expected to enter Earth’s atmosphere yesterday or last night, Space.com reported. No word yet on whether it’s made impact.
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