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Space truck Johannes Kepler will today undock from the International Space Station ahead of a fiery death above the Pacific. The European Space Agency's second Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has done its duty and is now packed with 1200kg of waste and unwanted hardware which will be destroyed when the 10-tonne vehicle burns up …

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Mushroom

Where is a hacker when you need one..

To test the targeting of the touchdown point..

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FAIL

It's a upmarket wheelie bin

not an anvil.

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Thumb Down

A hacker?

Well, I'm a hacker, and so are many other folks here. The word means "someone who finds clever ways of doing things that are not supposed to be possible". It appears you would be happier in a world without hackers. Might I suggest joining a stone-age tribe in Borneo? Don't worry, we hackers will be careful not to drop space hardware on your head. Promise.

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Seems a shame

to have to lose those panels too (they weren't cheap!).

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Happy

Burn baby burn

I always wanted to set Kepler on fire.

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@Mips

"I always wanted to set Kepler on fire."

You are Lutherus Einhorn and I claim my £ 500.

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Facepalm

Into the Pacific Ocean?

Isn't there enough garbage in the ocean? Now we're putting *space garbage* in there as well?

Yeesh...

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Coat

Into the Pacific Ocean?

As long as it's near a subduction zone it should be OK in a few million years or so.

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Joke

Moneyspinner

I'd prefer any area of sea that the UK owns, so we can whack them with a fine for littering. Which will remain as unpaid as the Congestion Charges, but we're talking principles here!

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Gold badge
WTF?

Recycling.

So even in an environment where every kilo costs us an arm and a leg to get it there, humans still manage to accumulate over a tonne of unwanted crap to chuck away.

And then we wonder why down here at the bottom of the gravity well so much goes to landfill.......

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Boffin

It's a universal law

You have to get rid of entropy or die.

Deal with it.

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Paris Hilton

Recycling - Crap!

"humans still manage to accumulate over a tonne of unwanted crap to chuck away."

Considering the location of the ISS, It's either stow it for disposal, live with it like a overflowing (floating - A whole new defination in itself) litter tray & the smell or go anal retentive & keep it all in.

You are the Queen, as clearly you never defacate & I claim my £5 (as that appears to be the current trend from the Megan Fox firing story).

PH Because she may well know about taking it up the Khyber.

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WTF?

Why load it up?

I can't see why it needs to be loaded up with the 'waste and unwanted hardware' - surely anything to be thrown out could be gently lobbed at the big blue globe where it would burn up on its own.

Rev. Andy

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If it was that easy to throw something down ...

... then it would be just as easy to throw something up.

The ISS is going around the Eath at about 7900 metres per second. If you stand on the outside of the ISS and fast bowl a cricket ball downwards, the ball will go about 40 metres per second downwards but it will keep going 7900 metres per second around the earth. The cricket ball will be in a slightly elliptical orbit that is very close to the ISS.

To make the cricket ball go down, you have to throw it out the back of the ISS hard enough to make a significant dent in that 7900 metres per second. The result will still be an elliptical orbit, but the lowest point will be in thick enough atmosphere to slow the ball still further.

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WTF?

lastminute.com

"The ATV's Russian docking system [...] will probably fall into the water as well"

Where else is it going to go? On holiday?

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Anonymous Coward

Splash

I think he meant that a lot of the Russian docking system will fall into the water instead of being completely burnt up in the air.

Makes you long for the good old days of space shuttles, OK they still had a shitload of garbage to bring back and presumably put straight into the incinerator but I too regret the loss of those solar panels on the disposable euro space truck.

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Pint

Reentry Breakup Recorder (REBR)

You missed one of the most interesting tidbits...

Kepler is equipped with a REBR that will record some data during the destructive reentry breakup. Then, when the recorder finally breaks free of the flaming fireball of debries, at about 18km altitude, it's supposed to make an Iridium telephone call to send the data back to headquarters (presumably in a dormant volcano somewhere).

Cool.

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Devil

Is it me or the solar panel alingment is imperfect

It may be the weird perspective, but the alignment looks a bit imperfect...

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@Recycling

Although to be fair, they are only allowed one bin/year

The intergalactic council will collect the blue box next year

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Anonymous Coward

Im Curious

please dont flame me for this, im actually quite intrested in knowing, what would be the down side of pointing this crap towards the sun?

obviously it would take some amount of shove to get it towards the sun and out of our gravity well but is it not possible?

You could just have a super sized space Skip with some cheap arse boosters on them to fire it at the sun once every decade or so.....

just a thought

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Alert

That's costly

You can't just point and shove.

Getting into the sun means slowing the orbital speed of the stuff relative to the sun, which means making a dent in an orbital velocity of 30 km/s or so. Which needs lots of fuel - which has to be lifted to the space station, thus needing even more fuel. It's easier to make a dent into the 7km/s of the ISS orbital velocity for a "back to Earth" manoeuver.

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Anonymous Coward

i see

would it not be possible to align its trajectory so that they could push it towards earth, get some gravity assist, but miss the earth an head towards the sun, obviously they would need some extra thrust.

My assumption was that to remain in orbit its speed forward needs to match gravity down, as you said, by slowing down would it not be pulled at by gravity back down to earth?

sorry im completely ignorant in such matters, assuming we could do that i cant think of any other negatives

i know doing this for earth based waste would be too expencive, but the stuff in question is already there so was just curious.

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Quietly getting on with the job?

Seems like ESA is getting close to "serial production" of the ATV but still a lot of missions still to fly to show just how good the ATV is and, presumably, before they send one filled with wetware.

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Strategic targeting could be useful?

Has anyone considered dropping its onto Gadaffi? This could be spun as an accident by the US and would probably leave a sizable dent in his compound - Just a thought.....

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