#SpaceTech- 5,800 pounds of batteries will fall to Earth today

A nearly 3-ton leftover tossed overboard from the International Space Station is nearing its plunge toward Earth.

The multi-ton Exposed Pallet 9 (EP9) was jettisoned from the space station back in March 2021. At the time, it was reported to be the most massive object ever tossed overboard from the International Space Station. Disposing of used or unnecessary equipment in such a way is common practice aboard the space station, as the objects typically burn up harmlessly in Earth's atmosphere.

Ahead of EP9's reentry, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, National Warning Center 1 in Bonn, Germany issued this information:

"Between midday on March 8 and midday on March 9, a larger space object is expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and possibly fragment," the translated statement explains. "The object is battery packs from the International Space Station (ISS). Luminous phenomena or the perception of a sonic boom are possible."

The post from the warning center explains that "the probability of debris hitting Germany is considered to be very low. If the risk increases, you will receive new information."

According to a social media post by astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the battery should reenter between 7:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) on March 8 and 3:30 a.m. ET (0830 UTC) on March 9.

EP9 is loaded with old Nickel-Hydrogen batteries, NASA explained at the time it was jettisoned, also explaining that EP9 has the approximate mass of a large SUV and predicting it would re-enter Earth's atmosphere in two-to-four years.

The EP9 was delivered to the ISS via Japan's HTV-9 (Kountori 9) on May 20, 2020. The EP9 carried six Lithium-Ion battery Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs) which replaced existing ISS Nickel-Hydrogen batteries during an astronaut spacewalk.