Monday, November 05, 2007

How to Build Space Cufflinks

It appears the patch job on the solar arrays of the ISS was successful. These are the instructions on how to make a set for yourself, you might need a trip to the hardware store for materials. :)

Here's how we got there.

"Discovery's pilot George Zamka along with ISS Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson who were called upon on Thursday to exhibit their inner-MacGyver. Using strips of aluminum, a hole punch, a bolt connector and 66 feet (20 meters) of wire, along with detailed instructions sent by mission control, the duo assembled half a dozen space station-saving cuff link contraptions. If all proceeds as planned, Parazynski, suspended at the end of the boom-arm assembly, will slip the cuff link-like tabs through holes in the array's blanket, enabling it to support the tension exerted when the solar wing is fully extended."

The array was patched Saturday on an extended spacewalk by veteran astronaut Scott Parazenski, full story here.

"Veteran astronaut Scott Parazynski led the unprecedented spacewalk, patching up the solar array at the far end of the unfinished space station.

"What an accomplishment, beautiful," Parazynski said as he watched the freshly repaired array unfurl from his vantage on the end of an extended robotic arm. "It's as taut as a sail. Everything looks completely intact."

The repair appears to be holding and the shuttle is due to land in Florida on Wednesday. The next mission is likely to address the other issue discovered on this flight on October 28th, the one of the metallic grit in the gears that rotate the other set of solar arrays to track the sun. The station is at reduced power until repair or cleaning of the gears is completed. Nebraskan Clayton Anderson returns to Earth after his five month sojurn on the ISS, having conducted three spacewalks in his stay and having filled in his NASA colleagues of all 597 famous Nebraska towns.

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