NASA Stories

All done! What to do next?

NASA Stories

We have a new Lego set!

NASA Stories

There are lots of parts to this set…

NASA Stories

All done!

NASA Stories

We are so clever! We built a space shuttle. And we didn’t even need a toothbrush…

NASA Stories

Little bears love The Martian and the creative problem solving that astronaut Mark Watney and the NASA ground team use to get Mark back home. The ‘hacking’ or repurposing of the equipment available to solve problems, work around problems and achieve mission success is a tradition at NASA.

On September 30, 2012, astronauts Suni Williams and Akihiko Hoshide were replacing a malfunctioning Main-Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) on the International Space Station during a spacewalk. The MBSU is one of four boxes that route power from the International Space Station solar panels to the station. During the replacement, a bolt became stuck, making the MBSU impossible to replace. When Williams and Hoshide finished their spacewalk the International Space Station was running on only 75% of its power. Cleaning and lubricating the bolt receptacle seemed to be the right approach, but with what? Ground crews realized that the astronauts had two different kinds of toothbrushes on the Station. After testing both, they found that, with a hacked reinforcement, one of them would do the trick. After modifying the toothbrush, Williams and Hoshide went out on another spacewalk, cleaned and lubricated the bolt and successfully replaced the MBSU. (Whether they said “In your face, Neil Armstrong” isn’t clear.)

NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 32 flight engineer, appears to touch the bright sun during the mission's third spacewalk. During the six-hour, 28-minute spacewalk, Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide (visible in the reflections of Williams' helmet visor), flight engineer, completed the installation of a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU). They also installed a camera on the International Space Station's robotic arm, Canadarm2. Credits: NASA
NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 32 flight engineer, appears to touch the bright sun during the mission’s third spacewalk. During the six-hour, 28-minute spacewalk, Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide (visible in the reflections of Williams’ helmet visor), flight engineer, completed the installation of a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU). They also installed a camera on the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2.
Credits: NASA

More NASA hacking stories here.

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