Skip to comments.Astronauts Lose Bolt During Spacewalk
Posted on 09/12/2006 9:18:38 AM PDT by RedCell
Astronauts Lose Bolt During Spacewalk Sep 12 11:55 AM US/Eastern
By MIKE SCHNEIDER Associated Press Writer
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.
Spacewalking astronauts worried they have may have gummed up a successful job connecting an addition to the international space station Tuesday when a bolt, spring and washer floated free.
Astronaut Joe Tanner was working with the bolt when it sprang loose, floated over the head of Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and skittered across the 17 1/2-ton box-like truss that they were hooking up.
While the washer went out into space safely, Tanner worried the bolt and spring could get into the truss's wiring and tubing and causing problems.
"Not a good thing," Tanner said. "Let's hope it doesn't end up somewhere in the mechanism.
"I don't see it anywhere."
NASA managers were examining whether the lost bolt would be a problem. Space debris can be dangerous if it punctures space station walls or spacesuits and can jam crucial mechanisms. However, spacewalkers have a long history of losing material in space. In July, Discovery spacewalkers lost a 14-inch-long spatula that floated away.
The free-flying bolt marred an otherwise successful and speedy spacewalk Tuesday morning.
Tanner and Piper zipped through a jam-packed list of arduous but mundane construction tasks, putting NASA ahead of schedule in connecting the addition. With extra time, Mission Control assigned them half a dozen extra jobs of bolt removing and cover unlatching that would have been part of a Thursday spacewalk.
That's when the bolt got lost.
Atlantis astronauts Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean will head into space on Thursday.
The spacewalk was a first for rookie astronaut Piper, who joined an elite club of female spacewalkers.
Only six other women have participated in 159 U.S. spacewalks, and only one has gone on any of the 118 Russian spacewalks. A major reason for the lack of female spacewalkers is the spacesuit, which isn't designed for small sizes, said Piper, who is 5-foot-10. "If you fit in a suit then the easier it is to work," she said.
Before they started, astronauts MacLean and Jeff Williams, from inside the space lab, used the robotic arm to install the 45-foot addition on the left side of the space station's truss system. Two solar arrays will be unfurled from the truss on Thursday.
The spacewalk started a short time later at 5:17 a.m. EDT. Tanner was first to enter the void of space tethered to the space station, followed by Piper.
"Welcome to the world of EVAs," Tanner told Piper, using the NASA term for spacewalks _ extra vehicular activities.
"Aaah. Wonderful," Piper responded.
Tanner and Piper then started connecting wiring and cables to the $372 million truss segment that was moved Monday from space shuttle Atlantis' cargo bay to the space station's robotic arm. Wearing bulky suits and gloves, the spacewalking electricians also installed and disconnected bolts, connected tubes and activated latches _ tasks that had to be performed quickly so the electronic components do not get cold.
The team worked briskly, at one point putting themselves so far ahead of the schedule that Mission Control reminded them to take a break.
"The team is working hard to keep up with you guys," Mission Control said.
Tanner: "Oh shoot... I just lost the last bolt"
Heidemarie: "No problem. I'll just make a run down to the Space Depot for a couple more. Need anything else"
Tanner: "Yeah, a few thousand rolls of duct tape and some bailing wire would be good. And can you swing by Starbucks for an espresso while you're at it?"
Must have been one of those "Oh,crap" moments.
Thus proving that dropped hardware will settle in the most inaccessible spot both on earth and in space. There's gotta be some universal law governing this phenomenon.
I hate when that happens. I remember once dropping a tiny metal clip down into an intake manifold. After I did it, I understood why they're called "Jesus clips." I found it, though, after pulling the manifold.
That's what we make idiot cords for.
What is the country of origin for that name (not the piper part - he's her step Dad)
Heide Marie is swiss/french origin, but Stefanyshyn?
This is the kind of thing that makes EVA still a learning exercise. Oh, well, they lose stuff inside the ISS all the time.
I hate when that happens - I hope they don't try and change the oil ...
So he dropped a nut or he's got a screw loose?
Makes me feel better. It always happens to me.
I'll stand over here and Bob, you go over there by the moon.
Baby steps people!
Probably Russian or Ukrainian. It's more commonly spelled with "i" instead of "y", and is a derivation from Stephanish or Stephanich.
Whew! At least it wasn't mine.
The Mighty Mag Parts Tray would solve their problems.........
If you see a Stuckey's, get me a pecan log.
A dropped part will always roll (or in this case float) to the farthest, mos inaccessible place and/or to where it can cause the most damage.......
Whoopsy... They'll need one super-duper-light-year-long magnet to pick up that bolt.
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