Commander Chris Cassidy added to the millions of pieces of junk orbiting the Earth on Friday, as he lost a small mirror as soon as he stepped out of the International Space Station for battery maintenance. It somehow became detached from the spacesuit, and fortunately, posed no risk to either the spacewalk or the station. Read more for two videos and additional information.
According to NASA, despite the millions of pieces of space debris that orbit Earth, only about 20,000 items, including old rocket parts and busted satellites, are large enough to be tracked in order to safeguard the space station as well as functional satellites. Why do spacewalking astronauts wear a wrist mirror on each sleeve? They use them to get better views while working, as each one measures 5 inches by 3 inches, while weighing barely one-tenth of a pound.
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Cassidy and Bob Behnken successfully completed the first of at least four spacewalks to replace the last bunch of old station batteries. After the six new lithium-ion batteries are installed, the International Space Station should be good for the rest of its operational life.