A Russian "Progress" supply ship has successfully lifted off bound for the International Space Station orbiting the Earth, even as another departed the station crammed with rubbish destined for fiery destruction during re-entry above the Pacific. Progress 46 took off in chilly winter weather from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 5: …
It's very unfortunate that it's apparently not feasible to vaporise waste using solar power and use it as propellant to counter atmospheric friction. So much momentum going to waste while additional propellant is expensively lifted into orbit. Even a low-tech catapult to fling chunks of waste backwards sounds like it would be an improvement.
But you need to put energy into the catapult
ie. pulling back the "elastic".
Electric motor driven by solar power?
How much extra power would it take to dump the space garbage on the moon? Surely if it's even slightly feasible we should be leaving our space tat up there in the hopes that one day we are advanced enough to use it as raw materials and build our space stuff in situ.
It's not a gimp suit, it's a space suit.
> advanced enough to use it as raw materials and build our space stuff in situ
We could send Robert Llewellyn as well, and run a competition between Chinese and Russian teams to see who can build the best lunar rover...
'How much extra power would it take to dump the space garbage on the moon?'
To go to the Moon from the ISS, you'd have to accelerate from c. 7kms-1 low Earth orbit velocity to c. 11kms-1 in order to achieve escape velocity. So the short answer is: 'a lot'.
There are also complexities about choosing when you can go as the ISS's orbit is inclined with respect to that of the Earth-Moon system.
XKCD has the answer.
"...space garbage crashes into Pacific..."
They need a "Garage" module on the ISS.
Surely with the cost of shipping stuff up to them there must be even more of a driver to put all their old crap in the garage, on the off chance it might be needed again, than there is for the rest of us?
One day I must get around to doing something about having a two-car garage filled entirely with things that "might be needed again"........
You do know that the "crap" they unload this way is indeed ... crap? ie. human waste, underwear worn for a weeks time b/c you only get to bring so many with you, etc. etc.
Not sure I want to know what you keep in that garage of yours...
rubbish exploded in a fireball
Why can't we do that with conventional rubbish? It'd save all the worry about landfill sites and so on.
All we need is a working space elevator to carry the garbage up without the need for massive energy expenditure, and then we fire it off towards the sun, which surely requires little effort as gravity will do most of the work, or, for special occasions like New Years and Guy Fawlkes Night, the garbage could be fired towards earth's atmosphere to create a spectacular lightshow across the whole country to complement the fireworks displays.
Gravity doing most of the work
Someone pointed out against another story that getting stuff to fall into the sun means bringing it to a stop - that is, relative to earth, ejecting it back along the path of the earth's rotation around the sun and accelerating it to 170,000km or whatever it is the earth travels at. i.e. LOTS of energy.
I wouldn't fire it off towards the sun...
All that mass leaving Earth would be a bit of a waste; as long as you've got the space elevator lifting it up, why not dump it into a chute and rain it all back down again, to burn up on re-entry? that would eliminate all the floating garbage between here and the sun, making space a little safer for travel. I, for one, would rather not come to a most inglorious end by being on the interplanetary ship that was breached by an old sardine tin...
Sounds like a plan. Just imagine the ways it could be used...
"Hey Vassily, we're losing orbit again. Tank up on the vodka and go for a good long piss outside, will ya? And Andrei, you know your momma's sauerkraut you packed - now's the time to dig out that spacesuit with a tube out the ass..."
I think that idea is about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit
dependence on Russia?
This is the seocnd or third article on El Reg that I can remember having mention to ISS depending on the Russkies for re-supply.
What about the European ATVs (Jules Verne and Johannes Kepler) which have already done re-supply missions to IIS?
What a waste of waste
They should have crashed the rubbish ship into the moon.
There's at least 2 very good reasons for this
1. less pollution and danger to the puny earthlings. no massive plumes of black smoke, no CO2 and no danger of uncooked rubbish or equipment hitting people.
2. (This is the clincher) A slight increase in the mass of the moon. This will lead to a greater pull on the oceans by the moon and ultimately a lowering in the sea levels!!!!
Bingo 2 problems 1 stone :)
I'll take that nobel prize in blue please
Only on one side of the planet at any one time; the other would experience something of a rise...
Dan Burbank ... practiced his robotic grappling skills
Tonight on WWF !!!!! Its Metal vs. Meatbag !!!
My money's on the robot.
JAXA and the ESA have done resupplies...
As to material resupply and disposal, there are currently several options. Clearly the manpower resupply is currently not done by JAXA, NASA or ESA, only Roscosmos.
NASA/SpaceX Dragon is trying to accelerate its replacement of NASA/Boeing Shuttle, but their most aggressive date (in February) for resupply has been pushed back by a month or two. NASA/Orbital Cygnus also begins cargo resupply in 2012, as well.
NASA/SpaceX Dragon is now planning manned resupply 6-18 months after a successful cargo resupply. The only other manned NASA vehicle on the plan isn't going to the ISS and isn't even committed to be built, yet.
Yeah, just what we need -- more junk floating around in LEO.
No, Richard's idea was good, and won't junk up LEO: If some of the waste were ejected out the back at high enough speed, it would boost the ISS's orbit. But then the orbit of the ejected waste' would be considerably lower energy and will within a very few orbits burn up in the atmosphere, where it was destined to go anyway.
Anything lower than the ISS will not stay in orbit long...the ISS's orbit is so low that it needs to boost periodically (so much atmospheric drag) to avoid the fate of the garbage.
More on resupply...
The ESA is scheduled to do an ISS resupply mission at the end of February (ESA does one every year, in Feb, for the next few years). With Dragon being delayed past its February 7 date, it might be wise to defer Dragon for several months after the ESA flight.
Not that any new-date for Dragon's cargo ISS trip has been set yet.
It is funny that Huffington Post stated that the Dragon flight for Feb 7 was 'still on' on January 26, but others (including the Reg) posted a deferral announcement on January 17.
sic transit gloria garbage
It doesn't get any better than ours.