20 August 2015 News

The ISS and sustainability: new life for spare shuttle parts as NASA raids museums?

Some might say that scouring for spare parts is a sign of dire times – but what about the virtues of recycling?

As New Scientist reports, NASA is scouring museums in order to potentially repurpose some spare space shuttle parts for the International Space Station.

NASA’s funding troubles were recently highlight when it bought nearly half a billion dollars worth of rides to the ISS from the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. The move came amid sanctions and increasingly terrible relationships between the U.S. in Russia as the result of the Crimea annexation and the wider Ukraine crisis.

Yet the desire to repurpose old parts should be celebrated – as opposed to criticised. In light of increasing concerns regarding climate change and other forms of environmental catastrophe, repurposing is an important part of the overall recycling process.

Repurposing is also simply helpful to the space industry as a whole – considering the growing problem of space debris, a sure sign that we should not be taking unsustainable practices to the cosmos.

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