Space Waste

Space Waste

Byline: Danielle Jackson

Before heading back to Earth, astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour used a little rocket science to perform one last task: serve as space sanitation workers.

Filling more than 2 tons of dirty laundry, empty food trays, packing foam and used equipment into the cargo carrier Raffaello, astronauts had to make sure trash was properly disposed of, using Endeavour’s robot arm to remove the carrier from the station and return it to the shuttle payload bay so that the trash could be brought back to Earth.

Endeavour astronauts also were asked to maneuver their “trash vehicle” in Star Wars-like fashion: They had to steer the shuttle away from an orbiting 30-year-old chunk of Russian rocket by firing shuttle thrusters to propel the space station out of its way.

When it first was launched into orbit aboard Endeavor on Dec. 5, 2001, the 21 feet long by 15 feet diameter Raffaello contained supplies for the new space station crew. Source: Yahoo! News

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