Treadmill At The International Space Station Bound For Fiery Exit

Sunita Williams runs on the treadmill at the International Space Station in 2006. Photo: NASA

The 13-year-old piece of equipment has already been replaced with a newer model.

What’s the treadmill at the International Space Station worth?

Apparently it’s nothing more than a pile of junk.

Officially known as the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System, the device is slated to leave the station on July 26 on an unmanned Russian supply ship. From there, the ship and its contents — including the treadmill — will burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

But don’t worry, the astronauts are not without another method of running in space. An updated, more high-tech treadmill was delivered to the station in March. The one set for destruction was in use from 2000 until the new one arrived.

“There has been a history of treadmills, trying to get them to work pretty well in space, and it is no easy feat,” NASA astronaut Sunita “Suni” Williams said. Williams made history in 2007 when she ran the Boston Marathon course — in space. As competitors completed the feat on the ground, she covered 26.2 miles while circling above in the space station.

Engineers spent years perfecting a space-worthy treadmill. The one that’s in use now has a gyro that prevents the spacecraft from moving when the astronaut’s feet land on the belt. The user is also strapped in via a harness; otherwise, he or she would float away.

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