There has been a lot of recent talk about garbage about the International Space Station (ISS).
An estimated 172 kilograms (78 kilograms) was dumped in a unique garbage bag from Airlock station bishop on July 2, Nanoracks, a company that builds and operates an airplane shutter, announced in a press release on Wednesday (July 6).
Company representatives said the operation tested Nanoracks’ new waste disposal technology and went well.
The garbage bag contained used foam, packaging materials, luggage bags, office supplies, personal hygiene products, and staff goods, Nanoracks representatives said. The company is considering using a similar dumping system at its planned commercial space station, Starlab, scheduled to fly in 2027.
“This is the first use of an airlock bag removal system in the ISS,” said Twitter Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics that traces regenerative objects like this garbage bag. (When the bag will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere has not been disclosed.)
To date, ISS personnel has thrown away unnecessary items by piling garbage into a space shuttle, releasing retired hardware such as the Russian Pirs module by 2021, or (occasionally) asking astronauts to dispose of small items by hand. Things during space travel, McDowell added.
But this new waste disposal system on the ISS is not unique to flying in space.
“It is worth remembering that garbage bags were often punished from Soviet Salyut space stations in the 1970s and 1980s,” McDowell said in another tweet.
According to McDowell records, the last time such a jet occurred was from the Soviet-Russian space station Mir in September 1996. That garbage dump returned into space naturally in May 1998.
Bishop Airlock, the world’s first aircraft locker, was connected outside the ISS on December 23, 2020. The 2,000-pound (907 kilograms) space was unveiled at the station during the SpaceX CRS-2 delivery campaign on December 6, 2020.
In his statement, garbage disposal took place in a “specially designed garbage can,” Nanoracks wrote, with a maximum capacity of 600 pounds (272 kg.) small satellites from the ISS.