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International Space Station Litter Crashes Into Pacific

Monday, NASA officials reported that a refrigerator-sized ammonia tank that was thrown off the International Space Station over a year ago, finally crash-landed into the Tasman Sea late Sunday.

The 1,400-pound tank was discarded in July 2007 to clear the way for future assembly work by space walker Clay Anderson. NASA officials said that the reentry would have a very low likelihood of impacting anybody.

Originally, the tank was originally planned to be sent down on a space shuttle, but plans changed and it was simply tossed off the station. The speed of the tank gradually slowed down due to friction, thus descending, and becoming subject to more friction and so on. The tank hit the earth's atmosphere at an altitude of about 50 miles and was mostly disintegrated with any debris falling into the Pacific Ocean between Australia and New Zealand scientists said.

Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini said that things are not thrown overboard from the space station haphazardly, but have a policy that has certain criteria to meet before any object can be discarded.

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