Astronauts empty the trash
Astronauts empty the trash This photo taken from NASA TV shows a close up of a capsule loaded with 1.5 tons of trash released from the International Space Station on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. (NASA via AP)
Astronauts empty the trash
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The International Space Station just got a whole lot tidier.
A pair of NASA astronauts released a capsule loaded with 1.5 tons of trash as the space station soared over Bolivia. The capsule was expected to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up harmlessly over the Pacific on Feb. 20.
NASA supplier Orbital ATK launched the capsule to the space station in December. It was full of food, clothes and other goods. The astronauts removed the precious contents. Then they filled it with garbage and old equipment for incineration.
Commander Scott Kelly and Timothy Kopra, the Americans on board, sent computer commands to set the Cygnus free. The stunning 250-mile-high view showed the capsule slowly backing away. Its two circular solar wings looked like open umbrellas.
Kelly, who's less than two weeks from wrapping up an unprecedented yearlong mission for NASA, thanked everyone who worked on the Cygnus.
"It's been a pleasure," he noted.
"A beautiful release," replied Mission Control.
Virginia-based Orbital ATK plans to launch another Cygnus with more supplies from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in late March. The flight was delayed a few weeks. That was after black mold contaminated some of the cargo bags. Technicians had to disinfect everything.
SpaceX, meanwhile, another commercial cargo carrier for NASA, is aiming to make a delivery in the next few months. The company is working to get back on track following a launch accident last summer.
NASA has handed off space station shipments to private business so it can focus on getting astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, namely to Mars. It hopes to do the same with space station crews next year. For now, U.S. astronauts are hitching rides with the Russians.

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Why doesn't dumping the trash create pollution?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • colbys-3-bar
    2/25/2016 - 08:27 p.m.

    Dumping the trash does not create pollution because it is above the ozone layer. When they dump trash they have to be careful because the trash can be very dangerous to aircrafts. I thought this article was very interesting because it is a good way to get rid of trash.

  • autianae-ste
    2/25/2016 - 08:40 p.m.

    Dumping the trash doesn't create pollution because it burns up in the atmosphere before it reaches the Earth's surface. If only we could do that with all of our trash instead of polluting more of our planet.

    • connorn-sch
      2/26/2016 - 03:22 p.m.

      I agree,the trash would be burned up entering the earth's atmosphere.

      • cristinai-sch
        2/29/2016 - 03:29 p.m.

        3)I agree that it will burn up entering the Earth's atmosphere because it says this in the article.

      • maiacariadus-sch
        2/29/2016 - 08:21 p.m.

        I agree with both connorn and autianae that upon entering the atmosphere the trash would burn up.

    • connorn-sch
      2/26/2016 - 03:28 p.m.

      who: astronauts
      what: astronauts released trash in space
      when: February.20
      where: they dumped trash in space
      why: to get rid of the trash
      how: with a space shuttle

    • justing1-sch
      2/29/2016 - 03:06 p.m.

      I agree the trash would burn once it enters the earths atmosphere

    • joshuabeckner-sch
      3/01/2016 - 03:19 p.m.

      3)I agree that the trash would burn up in Earths atmosphere .But would dumping the trash in space be using too much gas and spend a lot of money making the things to store the garbage.

    • joej-mcd
      3/14/2016 - 11:35 a.m.

      That is a smart idea. The trash would burn up and the matter would still be there but in space. If we dumped all our trash in space how would it effect that area?

  • ellerys-1-bar
    2/25/2016 - 08:59 p.m.

    Dumping debris into space does not create waste because the capsule of waste will burn up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on February 20th. The fact that the trash will burn instead of just floating in space forever makes it harmless and therefore it won't create any pollution.

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