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  Thursday, October 22, 2020
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The ISS freed up some of its space on Thursday morning as it dumped over the Pacific Ocean about one tonne of waste piled up over several months
"Approximately at 04:05, Moscow time, fragments of the Progress M-52 spacecraft with the remaining waste were sunk at a depth of four kilometers in a preset area between New Zealand and South America," a Russian Mission Control official told Itar-Tass. Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalyov and NASA astronaut John Phillips had loaded into the Progress M-52 more than a tonne of waste, the official said. Unlike the previous "refuse tipper," which the ISS-10 crew used for disposing of the Russian spacesuit Orlan whose service life had expired, the Progress M-52 was only loaded with containers with waste and spent equipment, he added. This time, the cargo spacecraft was sunk soon after it undocked from the ISS, instead of becoming for some time an autonomous orbiting space lab, as was the case with several Progresses. The spacecraft accomplished its mission: it took to the orbit in early March more than 2.5 tonnes of cargoes, and twice lifted the ISS to higher orbit, according to aerospace officials. The final orbit adjustment was completed on May 11 for docking with another supply ship. The Progress M-53 is to blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome on Friday. According to specialists, “the adopted practice of disposal of space waste does not inflict damage to the ecology of the earth”. Most of waste in Progress ships burn together with the craft as they enter the dense atmosphere, and only a few fragments reach the surface of the ocean. Despite the constant efforts to clear vital space at the ISS, much trash remains on board, which U.S. shuttles may help jettison. "The station is very overloaded, with the cosmonauts using all nooks for keeping cargoes which await return trips with U.S. shuttles," head of the ISS-9 crew Gennady Padalka told Itar-Tass. The launch of the Progress M-53 resupply spacecraft is scheduled for 03:09 Moscow time, on Friday. The spacecraft is to deliver fuel, the necessary equipment, food, and water to the International Space Station (ISS). "Readied for dispatch are also reserve units for the oxygen regeneration system Electron, which has been beset with malfunction of late," a Roskosmos official said. Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalyov and NASA astronaut John Phillips have been working aboard the ISS since April. Following the introduction of the moratorium on the flights of US space shuttles, Russia has been handling single-handed the rotation of ISS crews and the delivery of cargoes to orbit for more than two years.
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