The Heaviest Piece of ISS Trash Will Crash to Earth Friday

A pallet of used batteries attached to the International Space Station was flung off into space in March of 2021. It became just another piece of space debris in orbit, albeit a large piece weighing 2.9 tons. That orbit has been gradually decaying for three years now, and the garbage module is expected to fall to the earth sometimes between 7:30 AM on March 8 and 3:00 AM on March 9. While most pieces of space debris burn completely on re-entry, that won't be the case for this massive pallet. About half of the module and its contents will crash land, and no one knows where that will happen.

Why did such a large pallet get discarded in this way? The story goes back to 2018, when a failed Soyuz launch backed up scheduled missions and led to two astronauts making an emergency landing in Kazakhstan, and a backup of the spacewalk schedule led to a Japanese mission leaving the ISS without taking its garbage with it. The whole saga is better explained at Gizmodo. But meanwhile, keep your eyes out for falling debris on Friday.

(Image credit: NASA)

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