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.
For pete's sake. I mean Ukrainian.
Doc! Did you say, "Oops"?!
Pancakes in space!
Think how far the pancakes would fly if they flipped them into space with a 14-inch-long spatula. The bolt may be close to the ISS, but those pancakes would be long gone.
It's called "Murphy's law" Anything that can go wrong- will.
"Things that are sticky here are not sticky in space. That's interesting. How come?"
I meant meant to say "not always" sticky, and I don't remember why. I'll have to research that.
As for BTILC, I love that movie!
Don't think so...
Hmmm, no mag parts, no sticky stuff, that leaves only play-doh........
Apparently she's a member of the Hyphe nation...
No, some parts are magnetic, including possibly the washer. But you can't count on it, so you do other things. "Other things" that sometimes don't work, either...
Unless, like most things when dropped, it rolled to the exact middle under the thing being worked on.
Or things dropped in the kitchen that roll under the fridge and/or stove.
Naw...NASA probably went exotic on their tools and made them out of aluminum, titanium or some other material that didn't make as much sense as something like steel.....
Unless Ralphie was holding the hubcap, of course.
and ...well my epithets were what my Gramma used to call "reciting the Rosary backward!"
Wonder if NASA had the mute button guarded!
Lost a bolt?
When I'm fixin' something I always end up with several extra ones.
They must not be good mechanics....;-)
Here's a thought: Where does a bolt go when you drop it in outer space?
I dropped a nut once...
Finishing "Murphy's" sentence . .. . and at the worst possble time.