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Space

Astronaut to Attempt Spacewalk Record 116

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the moonwalk-record-still-strong dept.
MattSparkes writes "Two residents of the International Space Station will take a spacewalk tomorrow to try to jam a stuck antenna on a docked cargo ship back into place. The spacewalk will set a US record of over 65 hours spacewalk experience. During the spacewalk, the astronauts will "use a hammer and a chisel to try to pound the antenna into place". Precision engineering at its very best I'm sure you'll agree."
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Astronaut to Attempt Spacewalk Record

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  • A Hammer? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Architect_sasyr (938685) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:35AM (#18094914)
    They're going to use a Hammer and a Chisel... I thought these pieces of equipment were highly delicate...

    Apparantly they're more like IBM computers...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      well, at least it is not a hammer and a sickle, now that the MIR has gone the way of the dodo...

      besides, it would be unamerican.
      • by badspyro (920162)
        "Russian technology, American Tecnology, all come from same place. TIWAN!"
        *hits engine and it starts*
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jellomizer (103300) *
      Well they cant be that delicate being in space where objects could hit them at hundreds of miles per hour. A persision hammer strike is probably nothing to it. (perhaps just enough to put the chizle in place.)
    • by sdpuppy (898535)
      Hey those are the tools that I use to fix my computer - perfect when windows gives the blue screen of death
    • Maybe they said "a Hummer".
    • by Phisbut (761268)

      They're going to use a Hammer and a Chisel... I thought these pieces of equipment were highly delicate...

      From what I understood of TFA, they're simply trying to get the antenna back into place before they can destroy the whole cargo ship by letting it burn in the atmosphere. Therefore, I guess they don't really care whether they break anything in the process.

      Makes me wonder how much cheaper it really is to constantly build single-use cargo ships than to try and have them land intact and reuse the same

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728)

        From what I understood of TFA, they're simply trying to get the antenna back into place before they can destroy the whole cargo ship by letting it burn in the atmosphere.

        does anyone else think it odd that an antenna must be put back in place so it can burn up in the atmosphere? Reminds me about the guy on death row in California that got a heart transplant. Except at least I can see the astronauts wanting to get the "most spacewalking hours" record. I can't imagine the surgeon wanting the "most pointless and morally wasteful surgery ever"* award.
        -nB

        *While the merits of the death penalty are debatable, that's not the point. This guy failed his appeals and will be (was?)

        • by Phisbut (761268)

          does anyone else think it odd that an antenna must be put back in place so it can burn up in the atmosphere?

          My guess here is that they have a planned trajectory for the thing to burn up in space, but having an antenna stick out would change the wind resistance pattern, possibly making the ship go off course, with a slight risk that it would then crash in somebody's backyard instead.

          • From reading about this elsewhere, the reason was because the antenna was a "snagging" hazard when they cast it off of the ISS. They didn't want to eject it, and then have it rip off important things from the ISS that they didn't want to lose :)
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by fuse2k (1047490)
      If this were a Soviet mission, they'd use a Hammer and Sickle
    • ...is he going to hammer in the morning, or the evening?
    • by Dabido (802599)
      Astronaut One: Okay, the chisel is in place. Now, when I nod my head, you hit it with the hammer!

      Astronaut Two: Okay!

      *Astronaut One Nods Head*

      *Astronaut Two hits Astronaut One on head with hammer*
  • Houston... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kalendraf (830012) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:37AM (#18094938)
    ...we need a bigger hammer!
    • Please... (Score:5, Funny)

      by FlyByPC (841016) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:44AM (#18094998) Homepage
      It's not a hammer.
      It's a highly specialized kinetic-energy inertial impartion implement.

      After all, it cost far more than a mere hammer...
      • by karnal (22275)
        Of course it costs more! It has to be radiation hardened! *groan*
        • by Dunbal (464142)
          Of course it costs more! It has to be radiation hardened! *groan*


                Not to mention the Inertialess Tethering Point and Coupling (ie a hole drilled in the handle and a bit of string, to tie it to the suit) and the Point Acceleration Minimization Device (velcro on the handle). Those technological leaps alone are worth at least $25k.
          • Seriously, now --

            Can you really use a standard hammer in outer space? Won't our poor astronauts be flung back, courtesy of Newton Airlines?

            We'll have to come up with some kind of double-reverse-action-hammer. Or, throw astronauts at the antenna until it gives in.
            • Can you really use a standard hammer in outer space? Won't our poor astronauts be flung back, courtesy of Newton Airlines?
              the hammer is a much smaller mas than the astronout but yes hitting something will push them away and they will need to have some way to counter that (i'm guessing the ISS has handholds or something for this)

            • Re:Please... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Nf1nk (443791) <nf1nkNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @11:45AM (#18096384) Homepage
              I know you are joking, but try to use a dead blow hammer sometime. its kind of creepy to have the hammer just sort of die on impact. It wouldn't surprise me if they were using dead blows for this job to minimize the bounceback.
      • by bartyboy (99076)

        After all, it cost far more than a mere hammer...

        Of course it did - it's ambidextrous! Can't be sending left-handed hammers into space with right-handed astronauts...
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You don't actually think they spend $20000 on a hammer, $30000 on a toilet seat do you?
      • When you're paying about $20,000 to lift that hammer into orbit, I sure as hell hope that they'll splurge, instead of going for the $5 Walmart model. Ditto for their food. When each meal costs that much to lift to orbit, they may as well eat caviar, lobster, and Dom Perignon. The added cost is insignificant.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrFlibbs (945469)
      This just reinforces an old mechanical engineering maxim:

            "If you have a large enough hammer, anything can be made to fit."
      • by Fishead (658061)
        exactly.

        That's how I got the CB antenna onto my 4X4! The inner fender had a funky little jog that prevented me from closing the hood if I just used a right angle mounting bracket.

        All these comments about using a hammer on a space station makes me wonder how many people here (obviously not everyone) have ever worked on a car or anything.

        I remember once working on a yacht with a price tag of about $65 million Euro's and seeing a tradesman use a hammer and chisel to cut a hole in the dash to fit my equipment.
        • by arivanov (12034)
          me wonder how many people here (obviously not everyone) have ever worked on a car or anything

          Been there, done that. The hammer is the easy bit. Especially if you have the right variety and size. Now, filling it, sanding it, painting it and polishing it are the parts that are really hard and are getting harder and harder as the car paints (and panels) get more advanced.

          By the way, it is interesting what kind of hammer are they using (and what is the actual content of a space station toolkit).

          • by Fishead (658061)
            It better be an Estwing.

            Back in my days of construction (pre-education) if you came to work with a hammer other then an Estwing, you were certainly not taken seriously.
      • I thought the old maxim was:

        "when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail".

        or in this case:

        "When in a low oxygen atmosphere, a hammer and chisel seem the appropriate tool for antenna repair"
    • by eclectro (227083)
      ...we need a porta-potty. oh...wait...
  • Bah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Masa (74401) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:39AM (#18094950) Journal
    64 hours should be enough for anyone.
  • by kaysan (972266) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:41AM (#18094964)
    I can understand the practical applications of, and use for, packing a hammer aboard a space cargo flight, but i can't for the life of me imagine what they would do with a chisel?.. maybe they hid it inside of a cake?
  • by Zeek40 (1017978) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:49AM (#18095034)
    Did they forget about the BB gun, pepper spray, 6" knife and rubber tubing? Oh... Wrong astronaut...
  • i cant wait to see it, wonder if something new on nasa.gov

    --------
    Camila17
    please visit http://radio.gsm-ok.pl/ [gsm-ok.pl]
  • by Centurix (249778) <centurix@noSpam.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:51AM (#18095052) Homepage
    When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    Imagine spending 65 hours playing whack-a-mole.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:53AM (#18095072)
    Stuck Antenna? It's not the AE-35 unit that's failed, by any chance?
  • by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:57AM (#18095094)
    Now if he was breaking the moonwalking record, that'd be more newsworthy.
  • A US record? Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @10:00AM (#18095126)
    Oh, a record for US astronaut spacewalks? Yawn. That Russian has 80+, you know? US triumphs are not so special as to be noteworthy compared to the superior exploits of other nations. This mind-set isn't new - I recall learning about the space race in grade school and god help you if you remembered who Yuri Gagarin was but forgot that first American guy in space, whoever he was.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Chacham (981)
      This mind-set isn't new - I recall learning about the space race in grade school and god help you if you remembered who Yuri Gagarin was but forgot that first American guy in space, whoever he was.

      Of course. Because he went on to other things. His name was "Alan Shepard", which should ring a bell in most Americans. He also walked on the moon.
    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      US triumphs are not so special as to be noteworthy compared to the superior exploits of other nations.

      Oh yeah? Well at least we knew to bring a chisel instead of a sickle!
    • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @11:03AM (#18095796) Homepage
      Yes, because PR has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the continuance of manned spaceflight.

      You're right, the mind-set isn't new, sports records are also kept by country. In my high school, we even had state and local records! But God forbid that anyone else than America be chastised for it. I'm sure that my principal should have looked up the times of that Kenyan fellow who was faster than any of our track team.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by GigG (887839)
      Of course the Russians had more space walk experience. They had to keep in shape because there was always a pretty good chance they were going to have to walk home from the Mir.
    • by Kazrael (918535)
      RTFA and you would see they mention him.

      Lopez-Alegria has already spent more than 61 hours spacewalking during his astronaut career. This spacewalk, his 10th, should add about six more hours to his total - making him the US astronaut with the most spacewalks performed and the most total time spent walking in space. Only Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyov has spent more time outside the hatch, racking up 82 hours of spacewalking time.
    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      If the article or summary had been mis-leading, then you would have a point. But it wasn't, so your "insightful" post is nothing more than a troll.
    • but forgot that first American guy in space, whoever he was

      It was Greg Norman, wasn't it? Or some other golfer...

  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @10:02AM (#18095142)
    When the Russian cosmonaught takes a hammer to the fuel systems saying "this is how we fix things in Russia". Or something to that effect.
  • But you need to read up on the reality of fixing things to, from and on orbit and beyond - and the engineering that goes into a lot of it. Chariots for Apollo comes to mind, most of what happened on certain Gemini flights, lots of Skylab, and the ups and downs of cold and hot soaks to make things behave. So how do you make sure the radioactive thermocouple generators on board Galileo don't get cracked in manufacturing? They're plutonium ceramic encased in iridium - good luck x-raying that for defects.
  • Hammer Time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rodney dill (631059) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @10:18AM (#18095296) Journal
    If it doesn't work, hit it with a Hammer.
    If you break it, it didn't work anyway.
    (usually as applied to delicate electronic equipment)
    • Sounds like the technique used to try repairing the TV camera on Apollo 12.

      Unfortunately, "percussive maintenance" was no match for a vidicon tube that got aimed into the sun...
    • by badspyro (920162)
      Sticking magnets on the underside of an ipod works well with hdd faliures too... (for a month or two)
  • We call that "percussive maintenance" (i.e. hit computer to fix).
    • by v1 (525388)
      Our manager has an "impact maintenane tool". Its a wrench. A wrench used in the army to change the tracks on a tank. It's big enough to survive being run over by said tank.

      We simply refer to it as "the wrench". Usually mentioning The Wrench is sufficient motivation for... most anything.

      I also enjoy hearing about someone using a LART. (Lamer Attitude Readjustment Tool)
  • well... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jemminger (914046) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @10:52AM (#18095660)
    if anyone actually RTFA, you'd know that the ship with the faulty antenna is a trash barge that's going to burn up in the atmosphere as soon as they can hammer the antenna out of the way, or cut it off. i'm sure they wouldn't try to fix the ISS's communications antennae with a hammer and chisel.

    • by Valar (167606)
      Bravo. I'm glad someone finally said something sensible in this discussion. I'm tired of all of the backseat-astronauts who don't know anything about the mission but go on and on about the million dollar space hammer or how the mission would have been better performed by the private sector (nevermind the total lack of manned orbital ability in the private sector). Look, if you don't work at NASA, in the manned flight group, you don't know the full details of the mission. Therefore, you should question wheth
  • by slasho81 (455509) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @10:57AM (#18095708)
    It's not a continuous spacewalk record. And it's also not an accumulative spacewalk record. From the article:

    Lopez-Alegria has already spent more than 61 hours spacewalking during his astronaut career. This spacewalk, his 10th, should add about six more hours to his total - making him the US astronaut with the most spacewalks performed and the most total time spent walking in space. Only Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyov has spent more time outside the hatch, racking up 82 hours of spacewalking time.
  • When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail. Or some such.
  • I'm not a metalworker, so I'll ask a stupid question here...

    If you're chiselling a piece of metal, aren't pieces of the metal going to flake off? I'm just thinking of the orbiting debris issue - would the specks be too small to worry about?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That depends on how you use the chisel.

      If you use it to flake bits of metal off, then yes, there will be flakes. But chances are, they're just going to use the chisel as an impromtu guillotine to cut through the antenna legs. Chiselling away at them would serve no purpose.
  • Over kill (Score:5, Funny)

    by GigG (887839) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @11:10AM (#18095892)
    The chisel is over kill. You only need to tools in aerospace. A hammer and a roll of duct tape. If it moves and it isn't supposed to use the duct tape, if it doesn't move and is supposed to use the hammer.
    • by slim-t (578136)
      I've had problems with duct tape sticking at low temperatures (trying to cover a broken car window with plastic in a Minnesota winter). Doubt it would be much use in space.
      • by GigG (887839)
        Well you are obviously using the wrong kind of duct tape.

        http://www.octanecreative.com/ducttape/NASA/ [octanecreative.com]

        It's no secret that duct tape is an important tool to the NASA program. In fact, a roll goes up on every flight that leaves the launchpad. Good thing, too... Duct Tape has actually saved lives and equipment in space.
  • ..it's the fact that it's been to space.
  • He needs the astronaut's best friend - the inanimate carbon rod! [wikipedia.org]
  • How can you walk in space? I am sure they don't have star trek boots on...
  • Whoa there, Dave, hold on a minute!

    I once read about an American astronaut going outside his spacecraft to fix an antenna alignment problem, something happened and he didn't come back in again. I seem to recall some other stuff happened, too. I think they even made a movie about it.

    When was that, anyway? About six years ago?
    • by rarel (697734)
      Gemini IV had an issue at the end of the spacewalk but everything was fine. I think I recall reading that the astronaut inside was worried that he may have to leave his companion outside for reentry, but I'm not sure that's true.
      • by KlaymenDK (713149)
        Gemini? Oh come on! :-P I'm referring to Clarke's Odyssey .........

        (Note to self: Must hone Slashdot joking skills.)
        • by rarel (697734)
          woopsie... I only saw the movie, once, long ago, and actually didn't like it. Never got to read the book.
          • by KlaymenDK (713149)
            You have a Slashdot account and don't like 2001? Wow, why I never. ;-)

            I understand, though, it is a Kubrick movie after all. You should give the books (2001, 2010, 2063, and 3001) a go sometime, much different from the movies. Much of the story isn't exactly easy to carry onto the silver screen, sort of like the Hitchhikers movie: very well done, but still fundamentally lacking.
  • Precision engineering at its very best I'm sure you'll agree."

    Actually, engineering a system to support a human operator allows for a much wider range of choices when it comes to solving problems. Engineering an automated system that accurately forsaw every possible failure mode would be prohibitively expensive to begin with, would proceed from there to introduce an increasing number of problem-solving subsystems that would bring their own vast array of possible failure modes in a cascading chain of prohibi

  • Ok... I fail to understand what kind of antenna repair takes 65 Hours.

    Not to mention, how did they arrive at that figure... surely it's not a 65 hour task... maybe a 2 hour task with 63 hours of extra time to compensate for any unexpected situations.

    I'm betting they used Murphys law on this one... the guy in space say... sure I can do that in 15 minutes... the tech on the ground thinks for a second. "hmm 15 minutes + murphys law time for the unexpected = 65 hours"... ok you have 65 hours alloted for this t

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