Published on September 6th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
International Space Station Repair Job Accomplished Thanks To A – Toothbrush
Normally when we are trying to get some job done around the house and something goes wrong and we need to new tool to help with the job we can head to the nearest store and pick up what we need, not so when it comes to working on the International Space Station.
When something goes wrong there it usually means that they will need some kind of tool that doesn’t exist on a shelf somewhere but instead has to be created, which is made even harder because it has to work in zero gravity.
Such was the case earlier this week when two astronauts, Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide, were trying to install a new main bus switching unit only to be stymied by a stuck bolt. For us it would be a matter of hauling out the WD40 and getting the job done, on the space station it wasn’t so simple.
It turns out that the receptacles where the bolts holding the MBSU in place had suddenly become covered in metal shaving. After much brainstorming between the astronauts and NASA’s Johnson Space Center they came up with a solution that involved the use of – a toothbrush.
It appears that the issue plaguing the installation was metal shavings in the MBSU’s receptacles for the bolts. Using their improved tools, including the toothbrush, and a pressurized can of nitrogen gas, Williams and Hoshide were able to successfully install the unit around four hours into the spacewalk. Not to be deterred, the duo then went on to replace a faulty camera before turning to the airlock.