Global Fastener News

2006 FIN – Stuck Bolt Nearly Produces "Showstopper" in Space

February 05
00:00 2013

FASTENER HISTORY
2006 FIN – Stuck Bolt Nearly Produces “Showstopper” in Space

September 19, 2006 FIN – Media Spotlight – The installation of a $372 million truss and solar array on the International Space Station experienced a near “showstopper” when two astronauts from the Atlantis space shuttle crew encountered a stubborn bolt during a seven-hour spacewalk, the Associated Press reported.
Canadian astronaut Steven MacLean broke a power tool extension trying to loosen a bolt on a rotary joint. The joint would allow two solar arrays to constantly face the sun despite the space station rotation. The arrays will supply a quarter of the space lab’s power when it is completed by 2010.
McLean then teamed with American astronaut Daniel Burbank to budge the bolt using a wrench equipped with a “cheater bar.”
“Be careful with that – where it breaks could be really bad,” astronaut Joseph Tanner advised the spacewalkers.
Both the Atlantis crew and Mission Control in Houston were concerned the bolt might shear, leaving the rotating joint immobilized and preventing Thursday’s scheduled deployment of the solar arrays.
The bolt finally rotated, causing the astronauts to cheer.
“And we appreciate your answering that age-old question: ‘how many astronauts does it take to unscrew a bolt?'” quipped astronaut Pam Melroy. “And apparently it takes three, two outside and one inside.”
The joke downplayed the tension among mission personnel.
“You wouldn’t have imagined the drama inside here, and I’m sure the drama on the ground right now, a few minutes ago,” shuttle commander Brent Jett Jr. stated.
“It would have been a showstopper for rotation and deploy,” Burbank added. ©2006/2013 Fastener Industry News
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Editor’s Note: Articles in Media Spotlight are excerpts from publications or broadcasts that show the industry what the public is reading or hearing about fasteners and fastener companies. 

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