Nanoracks conducts first test of ISS waste disposal technology

A bag of ISS debris is dropped from Bishops Airlock on July 2, 2022.
gif: Nanoracks/Gizmodo

The private space company Nanoracks has announced the successful first test of new technology for removing debris from the International Space Station.

That International Space Station may seem glamorous, but astronauts aboard the orbital outpost still have to take out the trash. It is currently a lengthy and costly one Process, but Houston-based Nanoracks announced yesterday the successful test of a new waste management system that is poised to become significant streamline the process.

On July 2nda high-tech garbage bag containing 78 kilograms of ISS garbage was jettisoned from the space station and sent to its fiery demise in Earth’s atmosphere. It’s one small step for nanoracks, but one giant leap for the future of heavenly waste disposal. That Test, conducted in partnership with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, could represent a more efficient way for ISS astronauts to keep their house in order.

A look at the Bishops Airlock on the ISS.

A look at the Bishops Airlock on the ISS.
picture: nanoracks

“Debris collection in space is a long-standing but not as publicly discussed challenge aboard the ISS,” said Cooper Read, Nanoracks Bishop Airlock program manager a press release. “This was the Bishop Airlock’s first open-close cycle, our first deployment, and we hope this will be the start of new, more sustainable ISS disposal operations,” said Nanoracks CEO Amela Wilson.

In fact, the ISS has a garbage problem. astronauts are currently storing their waste in supply vehiclesnamely the Cygnus Freighters, which are then sent on journeys through Earth’s atmosphere where they burn up on re-entry. However, Nanoracks’ new system features a container mounted in the ISS’s Bishop Airlock, where astronauts sit Fill a bag with up to 600 pounds (272 kg) of trash. The pouch is then jettisoned from the airlock and sent into Earth’s atmosphere for destruction. Nanoracks claims that this new waste disposal method will not contribute to the creation of space debris, but the company did not immediately respond to my request for comment on the possible impact on the atmosphere.

Nanoracks Bishop Airlock – Junk placement on the International Space Station – View #2

Nanoracks isn’t particularly clear on what its next steps are for this new technology, but the company mentions that it’s excited to see how it can be integrated this new system into future commercial applications in low earth orbit. In the publication Wilson specified that Nanoracks will continue its relationship with NASA “We look forward to continuing this collaboration.”

garbage disposal is an often overlooked part of an astronaut’s daily lifebut its role in the smooth Operating a space station is critical to its long-term success. As manned missions advance further into our solar system –and beyond – tSuccessful waste management without waste and costs The use of supply vehicles will be of paramount importance.

More: The docked US Cygnus spacecraft successfully maneuvers the ISS in a key reboosting test