samzenpus from the stripped-threads dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Reuters reports that astronauts at the International Space Station ran into problems after removing the station's 100-kg power-switching unit, one of four used in a system that distributes electrical power generated by the station's solar array wings, and were stymied after repeated attempts to attach the new device failed when a bolt jammed, preventing astronauts from hooking it up into the station's power grid. Japanese Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide got the bolt to turn nine times but engineers need 15 turns to secure the power-switching unit. 'We're kind of at a loss of what else we can try,' said astronaut Jack Fischer at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston after more than an hour of trouble-shooting. 'If you guys have any thoughts or ideas or brilliant schemes on what we can do, let us know.' Hoshide suggested using a tool that provides more force on bolts, but NASA engineers are reluctant to try anything that could make the situation worse and as the spacewalk slipped past seven hours, flight controllers told the astronauts to tether the unit in place, clean up their tools and head back into the station's airlock. NASA officials says the failure to secure the new unit won't disrupt station operations but it will force engineers to carefully distribute electrical power from three operating units to various station systems and says another attempt to install the power distributor could come as early as next week if engineers can figure out what to do with the stubborn bolt. 'We're going to figure it out another day,' says Fischer."
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.
Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.