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Spacewalk highlights

This highlights movie from the July 23, 2007 station spacewalk shows the jettisoning of a support platform and a refrigerator-size tank.


Mercury science

Scientists present imagery and instrument data collected by the MESSENGER spacecraft during its second flyby of the planet Mercury.


Shuttle rollaround

Space shuttle Endeavour switched launch pads on Oct. 23, traveling from pad 39B to pad 39A.


Chandrayaan 1

India launches its first lunar orbiter, the Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft, from the country's Satish Dhawan Space Center.


Shuttle rollback

Atlantis was moved off pad 39A and placed inside the Vehicle Assembly Building for storage to wait out the Hubble mission delay.


IBEX launch

A Pegasus rocket carrying NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer launches over the Pacific Ocean.


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Discarded station device
re-enters the atmosphere

Posted: November 3, 2008

A refrigerator-size ammonia tank thrown overboard from the international space station more than a year ago finally fell back to Earth late Sunday, a NASA official said.

The Early Ammonia Servicer was jettisoned during a spacewalk in July 2007. Credit: NASA TV
The 1,400-pound Early Ammonia Servicer was discarded from the orbiting outpost by spacewalker Clay Anderson on July 23, 2007 to clear the way for future assembly work.

Tracking data indicated the re-entry into Earth's atmosphere occurred around 11:51 p.m. EST over the ocean south of Tasmania.

"The ground track was on an ascending node, and so what debris may have been still together after re-entry fell in the ocean between Australia and New Zealand," said station program manager Mike Suffredini.

NASA once planned to bring the no-longer-needed ammonia tank down on a space shuttle, but plans changed and officials opted to toss it away instead.

The ammonia tank was launched in 2001 to provide additional coolant in case of a leak in an interim thermal control system that supported the initial stages of station assembly. The ammonia was never needed and the lab's permanent cooling system is now in operation.

The servicer was mounted on the P6 solar array truss. Three months after the jettisoning, the truss structure was relocated from atop the station to the far left side.

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