Xeni Jardin at 6:52 pm Mon, Apr 29, 2013
I guess it couldn’t be called ‘up’-chucking…
I’m rather surprised that they don’t have some effective way go dispose of such garbage. How hard would it be to mechanically (ie with a spring of some kind) launch soft garbage such that it quickly heads for deorbit burnup?
I wonder (too idly to look it up) how far it’d have to fly down before gravity took its course?
If I were up there, I’d be humming this tune every time I flushed.
Anything in orbit is already falling. Just on a very long trajectory.
They have to boost the ISS to higher orbit regularly.
As far as I can tell, the space agencies seem to shy away from chucking solid waste down the gravity well. I’m not sure why. My guess is that the main concerns are that they don’t want to constantly adjust course from the reaction to propelling mass away from the station. The other concern I can think of is that they don’t like risking something making it to the ground on an uncontrolled trajectory moving at 14km/s.
Imagine getting hit by a bag of shit going at meteoric velocity! Or even an ATX case screw.
Well if you were trying to de-orbit the trash, you’d be boosting the station. But the delta-v for a spring loaded flinger would be miniscule compared to that of a rocket.
Well, if a rocket going 20,000 mph hits a floating bag of frozen puke, it’s going to destroy the rocket. NASA tries very hard to limit the amount of space debris in orbit. Eventually it will all fall to Earth, but until it does, it’s a hazard. Better to store all the trash until you have enough to send it down to Earth in a Soyuz.
Guys, fix the damn gravity plating and you won’t be floating around.
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