I know... you're looking at the opening line and going - "Huh?"
It's okay. I did, too. Why are they burning garbage?
Okay... that part about having a spaceship was pretty cool, though.
But geez, leave it to the Japanese to create a space garbage truck!
On March 29, the unmanned space scow, Kounotori 2 (こうのとり = stork or white heron) burned up in re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere--all according to plan.
The H-2 Transfer Vehicle, a robotic spacecraft was purposely destroyed to rid itself and its cargo of space trash following a very successful two-month mission at the International Space Station (ISS).
The Kounotori 2 spacecraft launched in January and arrived at the station on January 27, 2011.Along with all of the trash from the space station--which we figure included a lot of spent condoms what with being eff all to do up there--an on board sensor monitored the spacecraft’s plunge to destruction into the South Pacific Ocean, relaying data via satellite to researchers for later analysis.
Okay... I may have misspoke/mis-wrote about the condom, thing, but the destroyed ship did carry with it three pieces of origami (folded paper) in the shape of a crane. Folded by the International Space Station's three-person crew, it was a solemn symbol of prayer and hope for the victims of the massive Japanese earthquake (9.0 Magnitude) and tsunami (10 metres high) that struck the northeastern part of Japan on March 11.
Along with hauling trash, the sensor (also known as the REBR - Re-Entry Breakup Recorder) aboard the spaceship recorded the temperature, acceleration, rotational rate and other pertinent information during the ship's trash and burn.
“REBR collected data during the breakup of the Kounotori 2 vehicle and successfully 'phoned home' that data prior to final impact,” says William Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California. “In fact, it is still transmitting while floating in the ocean.”
Recovery of the device is not planned. Does it make you wonder why more spaceships aren't made of the same material as this REBR? It didn't burn up upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere - and it's floating on the ocean???
REBR was made possible by using tiny sensors and miniature cell phone technology, built as basically a satellite phone with a heat shield, the Aerospace Corporation designed REBR to collect data during atmospheric reentries of space hardware in order to help understand breakup and increase the safety of such reentries. (Ed. Note: Come in slower and at a less sharp angle - and remember to have working heat shields... if you want to survive. )
It's expected that it will take about six to eight weeks to analyze the data, at which time THIS BLOG suspects they will learn that spaceships and trash to indeed burn up upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and that fire can be hot.
The H-2 Transfer Vehicle spacecraft are about 33 feet (10 meters) long including maneuvering thrusters at one end and 14 feet (4.4 m) wide. It has a total mass of 10.5 tonnes, with a 6,000 kilograms (13,000 lb) payload. It can carry cargo inside a pressurized compartment – which astronauts can retrieve after docking – as well as haul spare station parts on an unpressurized pallet to be retrieved by the Canada-built robotic arm, Canadarm2. Since the spacecraft lacks a complex docking and approach system, it must be flown close enough to the station to allow capture by the Canadarm2, which pulls it to a berthing port on the ISS Harmony module.
The REBR project was supported by the U.S. Air Force, NASA, and the Boeing Company. The first flight test of the small, autonomous device was coordinated by Japan's Department of Defense’s Space Test Program. A second test will be REBR’s reentry aboard the European Autonomous Transfer Vehicle 2, called Johannes Kepler, in early June.
Kounotori 2 was the second disposable H-2 Transfer Vehicle built by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to ferry tons of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). The first HTV spacecraft, HTV-1, visited the station in 2009.
"The HTV-2 carried various important cargo, including spare units of the external ISS system and potable water for the crew, which has been mostly transported by the space shuttle up to now," says JAXA president Keiji Tachikawa Keiji (surname first). "I believe that this success proves that the HTVs are reliable transportation vehicles essential for maintaining the ISS, and that Japan, as an international partner of the ISS, is eligible to play an important role for ISS operations."
The next HTV spacecraft is expected to fly in January 2012.
Somewhere lost in space with the rest of the garbage,
Today's blog title is by Deep Purple: THEFINALFRONTIER.