Tool Box Enters Orbit – More Debris Adds to Space Junk Hazard

Reuters/NASA TV - Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Pipers tool bag moves away from the International Space Station in this view from her helmet camera as the tools were lost accidentally during her work cleaning and replacing the stations solar array trundle bearing

Reuters/NASA TV - Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper's tool bag moves away from the International Space Station in this view from her helmet camera as the tools were lost accidentally during her work cleaning and replacing the station's solar array trundle bearing

Lost in space: the astronauts’ toolbox

AP Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A spacewalking astronaut accidentally let go of her tool bag after a grease gun inside it exploded, and helplessly watched as it floated away with everything inside.

It was one of the largest items ever to be lost by a spacewalker, and occurred during an unprecedented attempt to clean and lube a gummed-up joint on a solar panel.

Space Junk - Space.com

Space Junk - Space.com

Space Junk

By Robert Roy Britt Senior Science Writer posted: 05:19 pm ET 19 October 2000

Thousands of nuts, bolts, gloves and other debris from space missions form an orbiting garbage dump around Earth, presenting a hazard to spacecraft. Some of the bits and pieces scream along at 17,500 mph.

When these objects fall back into Earth’s atmosphere, which they inevitably do, they behave just like any other meteor, lighting up the sky.

Profile of space junk:

  • 8,927 man-made objects officially tracked (up from 8,841 in July 1999)
  • 4 million pounds of stuff
  • 110,000 total objects 1 centimeter and larger

The full list of garbage in space and who put it there

UPDATE: November 26, 2008

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