NASA astronaut accidentally let go of a tool bag while performing maintenance on the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this month.
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On November 2, NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara performed some ISS maintenance work, this time lasting 6 hours During the 42-minute spacewalk, one of the two astronauts accidentally let go of a tool bag they had been using, causing it to float into space. Ground control later spotted the bag on external space station cameras but determined its trajectory did not pose a risk to the space station or its crew.
The bag is expected to float in front of the space station for several months before eventually burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Naijatechnews.com noted that this is not the first time that astronauts have accidentally released items into deep space. Astronauts have made such mistakes at least four times.
In 2017, two astronauts lost an item they needed to complete work on the ISS during a spacewalk: a bag containing a shredded fabric shield that was used to cover an access point. After the 18-pound bag went missing, the team at Mission Control on Earth had to quickly find another solution to avoid leaving the access point exposed, and they quickly cobbled together a replacement from other materials.
On November 18, 2008, NASA astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper accidentally let her tool bag float away while performing maintenance outside the ISS. Valued at $100,000. A lube gun inside the bag started leaking, and when Stefanitsyn-Piper tried to clean it, the bag floated away from her hands. Stefanitsyn-Piper said in an interview after the accident that she considered jumping up and grabbing the bag, “and then I realized it would just make it worse and then we would have two floating Objects, and one of them is me, so the best thing to do is let go.”
In 1965, Ed White, the first American spacewalker, lost a glove in space. This was nearly 60 years ago. On June 3, 1965, White stepped out of the Gemini 4 spacecraft and floated in space for 20 minutes, but while the hatch was still open, one of his spare gloves floated out and flew into space. .
It’s not just NASA. In May this year, when Russian astronauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin performed a spacewalk outside the ISS, Prokopyev Piev tossed an 11-pound bag containing the remaining equipment into the abyss and said, “It flew beautifully.” Some criticized Prokopyev for littering, but ISS later tweeted that the bag would “burn harmlessly in Earth’s atmosphere.”
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