APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
User avatar
APOD Robot
Otto Posterman
Posts: 4275
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:27 am

APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:05 am

Image SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free

Explanation: A spacesuit floated away from the International Space Station 15 years ago, but no investigation was conducted. Everyone knew that it was pushed by the space station crew. Dubbed Suitsat-1, the unneeded Russian Orlan spacesuit filled mostly with old clothes was fitted with a faint radio transmitter and released to orbit the Earth. The suit circled the Earth twice before its radio signal became unexpectedly weak. Suitsat-1 continued to orbit every 90 minutes until it burned up in the Earth's atmosphere after a few weeks. Pictured, the lifeless spacesuit was photographed in 2006 just as it drifted away from space station.

<< Previous APOD This Day in APOD Next APOD >>

RocketRon

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by RocketRon » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:18 am

And since we now know its not allowed/possible to wash clothes in space,
it would have been a very grimy set of clothes inside indeed !?

Knight of Clear Skies
Ensign
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:02 am

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by Knight of Clear Skies » Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:31 am

RocketRon wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:18 am
And since we now know its not allowed/possible to wash clothes in space,
it would have been a very grimy set of clothes inside indeed !?
Re-entry would have had something of a scouring effect, perhaps as high as two micro-Zwickys.
Caradon Observatory, Cornwall, UK.

User avatar
Astronymus
Science Officer
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:26 pm
AKA: Astro
Location: Alps

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by Astronymus » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:54 am

Perfect crime. No body.
»Only a dead Earth is a good Earth.«

heehaw

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by heehaw » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:14 am

He sure looks like he's about to throw for a goal!

User avatar
orin stepanek
Plutopian
Posts: 6195
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: Nebraska

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by orin stepanek » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:32 pm

suitsat1_nasa_1080.jpg

Anybody try to radio Suitsat Yet? They said you could listen to it! :mrgreen:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Orin

Smile today; tomorrow's another day!

E Fish
Ensign
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:29 pm

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by E Fish » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:10 pm

This is weirdly entertaining. I have so many questions now. Are spacesuits so ubiquitous that they can just jettison one for fun? Or did they intentionally bring along an extra spacesuit? Did they get in trouble for doing it? Did they sneak some vodka onto the ISS and were just drunk? And finally... just how smelly were those clothes?

User avatar
johnnydeep
Commander
Posts: 592
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:57 pm

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by johnnydeep » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:18 pm

E Fish wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:10 pm
This is weirdly entertaining. I have so many questions now. Are spacesuits so ubiquitous that they can just jettison one for fun? Or did they intentionally bring along an extra spacesuit? Did they get in trouble for doing it? Did they sneak some vodka onto the ISS and were just drunk? And finally... just how smelly were those clothes?
The suit had reached it's end of useful life (probably along with some worn out clothes - or can clothes really not be effectively or economically washed in space, with or without water?) - and was repurposed to end life doing something of some scientific value.
"To Boldly Go......Beyond The Fields We Know."

User avatar
johnnydeep
Commander
Posts: 592
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:57 pm

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by johnnydeep » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:21 pm

Knight of Clear Skies wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:31 am
RocketRon wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:18 am
And since we now know its not allowed/possible to wash clothes in space,
it would have been a very grimy set of clothes inside indeed !?
Re-entry would have had something of a scouring effect, perhaps as high as two micro-Zwickys.
So, is a Zwicky a made-up unit, used here solely for comedic effect? I searched in vain to find a definition. It would no doubt be based on the work of famous astronomer Fritz Zwicky - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Zwicky.

EDIT: ok, it's humourous. I found this from https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/1605 ... be/page/2/:
One of his colleagues said that 'The Zwicky' should be adopted as a unit of abrasievness, to which another replied that the micro-Zwicky would already exceed the highest know abrasiveness on earth! Walter Baader thought Zwicky wanted to kill him.
"To Boldly Go......Beyond The Fields We Know."

De58te
Science Officer
Posts: 373
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:35 pm

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by De58te » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:12 pm

This spacesuit floats free picture reminds me of something similar not 15 years ago but some 3 or 4 years ago about a spacesuit (empty as well) that was seen driving away from Earth in a red convertible car. I think it belonged to the Elon Musk Space Corporation or something. Wonder what happened to that?

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18008
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

True Gritz: the Goode, the Baade & the Zwicky!

Post by neufer » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:27 pm

johnnydeep wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:21 pm
Knight of Clear Skies wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:31 am
RocketRon wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:18 am

And since we now know its not allowed/possible to wash clothes in space,
it would have been a very grimy set of clothes inside indeed !?
Re-entry would have had something of a scouring effect, perhaps as high as two micro-Zwickys.
Ok, it's humourous. I found this from https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/1605 ... be/page/2/:
One of his colleagues said that 'The Zwicky' should be adopted as a unit of abrasievness, to which another replied that the micro-Zwicky would already exceed the highest know abrasiveness on earth! Walter Baader thought Zwicky wanted to kill him.
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/curmudgeon wrote:
<<Curmudgeon: an ill-tempered person full of stubborn ideas or opinions. An alternative spelling attested in 1600 is cornmudgin, in Holland's translation of Livy, rendering Latin frūmentārius (“corn-merchant”). This has been suggested as the original form of the word.>>
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Zwicky wrote:
<<Fritz Zwicky (born February 14, 1898) is remembered as both a genius and a curmudgeon. One of his favorite insults was to refer to people he did not approve of as "spherical bastards", because, he explained, they were bastards no matter which way one looked at them. German colleague Walter Baade claims to have been accused by Zwicky of being a Nazi, and falsely staged complaints that he "feared" Zwicky. Unknown to the public was that Baade was fearful, because he had named a galaxy after himself that was discovered by Zwicky. Edwin Hubble corrected this injustice and the galaxy was catalogued as a Zwicky galaxy. Zwicky & Baade pioneered and promoted the use of the first Schmidt telescopes used in a mountain-top observatory in 1935. In 1934 he and Baade coined the term "supernova" and hypothesized that supernovae were the transition of normal stars into neutron stars,as well as the origin of cosmic rays.

Zwicky was skeptical of the expansion of space in 1929, because the rates measured at that time seemed too large. It was not until 1956 that Walter Baade corrected the distance scale based on Cepheid variable stars, and ushered in the first accurate measures of the expansion rate. Cosmological redshift is now conventionally understood to be a consequence of the expansion of space; a feature of Big Bang cosmology. In support of this hypothesis, Zwicky started looking for supernovae, and found a total of 120 by himself (and one more, SN 1963J, in concert with Paul Wild) over 52 years (SN 1921B through SN 1973K), a record which stood until 2009 when passed by Tom Boles. Zwicky did his laborious work, comparing photographic plates with the human eye, which is far more challenging and difficult than Boles accomplished using modern technology for his record.>>
Art Neuendorffer “corn-merchant” (born February 14, 1946)

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15858
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:32 pm

De58te wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:12 pm
This spacesuit floats free picture reminds me of something similar not 15 years ago but some 3 or 4 years ago about a spacesuit (empty as well) that was seen driving away from Earth in a red convertible car. I think it belonged to the Elon Musk Space Corporation or something. Wonder what happened to that?
It's in an orbit around the Sun with a 1.5 year period, ranging in distance from about Earth's orbit to somewhat beyond Mars's orbit.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

mason dixon
Asternaut
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:07 am

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by mason dixon » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:41 pm

So anything just casually tossed out the space station door/airlock will burn up in a few weeks?

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15858
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:52 pm

mason dixon wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:41 pm
So anything just casually tossed out the space station door/airlock will burn up in a few weeks?
Depends on the shape and mass.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

heehaw

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by heehaw » Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:10 pm

De58te wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:12 pm
This spacesuit floats free picture reminds me of something similar not 15 years ago but some 3 or 4 years ago about a spacesuit (empty as well) that was seen driving away from Earth in a red convertible car. I think it belonged to the Elon Musk Space Corporation or something. Wonder what happened to that?
Yes, a brilliant gesture by Musk. https://www.cnet.com/news/spacex-starma ... sks-tesla/

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18008
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by neufer » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:19 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:52 pm
mason dixon wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:41 pm

So anything just casually tossed out the space station door/airlock will burn up in a few weeks?
Depends on the shape and mass.
https://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Category/Educational/Space%20Weather/Space%20Weather%20Effects/SatelliteOrbitalDecayCalculations.pdf wrote:
Satellite: Altitude = 300.0 kms : Mass = 100.0 kg : Area = 1.0 square meters

Code: Select all

     TIME(days)   ALTITIUDE	  PERIOD
----------------------------------------------------
	 0.0     300.0(kms)    90.5(minutes)
.....................................................
	19.5     279.9(kms)    90.1(minutes)
	31.5     259.9(kms)    89.7(minutes)
	38.4     239.8(kms)    89.3(minutes)
	42.3     219.6(kms)    88.9(minutes)
	44.5     199.3(kms)    88.5(minutes)
	45.7     179.5(kms)    88.1(minutes)
----------------------------------------------
  • Re-entry after 46 days.
https://www.spaceacademy.net.au/watch/debris/orblife.htm wrote:
  • The following table provides a very rough guide to the lifetime of
    an object in a circular or near circular orbit at various altitudes.

Code: Select all

	Altitude 	Lifetime
----------------------------------------------
	200 km		1 day
	300 km		1 month
................................................
	400 km		1 year  [~ISS altitude]
................................................
	500 km		10 years
	700 km		100 years
	900 km		1000 years
	----------------------------------------------------
Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 11319
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by Ann » Mon Mar 29, 2021 4:54 am

heehaw wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:10 pm
De58te wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:12 pm
This spacesuit floats free picture reminds me of something similar not 15 years ago but some 3 or 4 years ago about a spacesuit (empty as well) that was seen driving away from Earth in a red convertible car. I think it belonged to the Elon Musk Space Corporation or something. Wonder what happened to that?
Yes, a brilliant gesture by Musk. https://www.cnet.com/news/spacex-starma ... sks-tesla/

The spacesuit in Elon Musk's "space Tesla" was exactly empty, because there was a mannequin inside.

Got to say I loved that piece of cheekiness from Elon Musk. Too cool! (Yes, I know I'm being childish here, but I can't help it, I loved it.)

Ann
Color Commentator

RocketRon

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by RocketRon » Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:08 am

The fact that the Tesla was aimed (sorta) at Mars, and missed by about half a universes worth might be of some
concern for those heading for Mars later on - unless someones navigation skills have improved somewhat. !

The official reason was that the motors burned for much longer than expected. (?).
But you'd think that should have come into the calculations.

Pwave
Asternaut
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:47 am

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by Pwave » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:13 am

So, every follicle is weighed and accounted for, but someone over-packs?
"Lazy astronauts eject space trash", news at 11:00.

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15858
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:44 pm

Pwave wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:13 am
So, every follicle is weighed and accounted for, but someone over-packs?
"Lazy astronauts eject space trash", news at 11:00.
Almost all trash in the ISS is ejected. It's the most efficient, cost-effective way of getting rid of it. And this spacesuit was obsolete and of no further use. So it was, in fact, trash. Nice they found a way to stretch one last little bit of value from it.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
johnnydeep
Commander
Posts: 592
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:57 pm

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by johnnydeep » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:45 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:44 pm
Pwave wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:13 am
So, every follicle is weighed and accounted for, but someone over-packs?
"Lazy astronauts eject space trash", news at 11:00.
Almost all trash in the ISS is ejected. It's the most efficient, cost-effective way of getting rid of it. And this spacesuit was obsolete and of no further use. So it was, in fact, trash. Nice they found a way to stretch one last little bit of value from it.
Hmm, what about the loss of some oxygen due to the ejection process. Or maybe that's deliberately minimized enough to be a non-issue.
"To Boldly Go......Beyond The Fields We Know."

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15858
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free (2021 Mar 28)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:03 pm

johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:45 pm
Chris Peterson wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:44 pm
Pwave wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:13 am
So, every follicle is weighed and accounted for, but someone over-packs?
"Lazy astronauts eject space trash", news at 11:00.
Almost all trash in the ISS is ejected. It's the most efficient, cost-effective way of getting rid of it. And this spacesuit was obsolete and of no further use. So it was, in fact, trash. Nice they found a way to stretch one last little bit of value from it.
Hmm, what about the loss of some oxygen due to the ejection process. Or maybe that's deliberately minimized enough to be a non-issue.
I think it's a non-issue. The amount lost is trivial compared with other places it is lost. Oxygen is constantly being delivered to the ISS and made from water to make up for that. I expect the space occupied by an obsolete space suit is more valuable than the amount of oxygen inside it.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com