Spacewalking team conquers bolt, installs box

Associated Press
Spacewalkers Overcome Stuck Bolt to Fix Space Station Power System

View photo

Spacewalking astronauts Sunita Williams (left) and Akihiko Hoshide (right) work outside the INternational Space Station near the outpost's robotic arm on Sept. 5, 2012.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Spacewalking astronauts triumphed over a stubborn bolt and installed a critical power-switching box at the International Space Station on Wednesday, reviving electrical systems.

"Looks like you fixed the station," Mission Control told the crew on the radio. The problem had cut the amount of electrical power available to the orbiting lab and a variety of equipment had to be turned off.

Engineers on the ground and the astronauts in orbit scrambled over the Labor Day weekend to devise makeshift tools to clean metal shavings from the socket of the troublesome bolt, after last week's failed effort to plug in the new power-relay unit.

This time, NASA's Sunita Williams and Japan's Akihiko Hoshide were armed with a blue toothbrush, a wire brush and other jury-rigged tools.

The two applied grease to the sticky bolt as well as extra pressure and plain old jiggling. They also brushed and blew away most if not all the metal shavings, debris that was discovered during last Thursday's eight-hour extravaganza, one of the longest spacewalks on record. Wednesday's outing lasted 6½ hours.

Although the space station remained stable, NASA was in a hurry to get the problem fixed because of the impending departure of the U.S. astronaut who operated the hefty robot arm from inside, Joseph Acaba. He's due to return to Earth in 1½ weeks.

Altogether, the space station has four of these power-switching units, which relay electricity from the eight solar wings. Being down one unit meant the orbiting complex could draw power from only six of those wings.

The power store was further degraded over the weekend when, in an unrelated problem, a tripped circuit breaker prevented full access to yet another solar panel. That left the space station running on just five wings, a vulnerable situation.

Tension mounted in Mission Control as Wednesday's spacewalk approached the four-hour mark and the power-switching unit had yet to be installed. NASA considered calling it quits at that point, but asked the astronauts whether they could keep going, given their progress. Both spacewalkers insisted on pressing ahead.

As Hoshide started to drive the bolt home, Mission Control asked the astronauts to report everything they saw and felt.

"My left hand just fell asleep because my fingers are crossed too long," Mission Control said. "We're holding our breath."

Finally, 4½ hours into the spacewalk, Hoshide reported: "It is locked."

Mission Control burst into applause. Soon afterward, Mission Control confirmed that the power-switching box was firmly in place and working properly.

"It's been like living on the set of Apollo 13 for the past few days," said Mission Control, referring to the 1970 effort to save the three astronauts on the aborted moon mission. "NASA does impossible pretty darn well."

As to how the vexing shavings ended up on the space station, the bolt was probably damaged when it was installed before launch, said NASA's space station program manager, Mike Suffredini.

It will be a few days before electrical systems are restored 250 miles up. And NASA still must contend with the tripped breaker from last weekend; another spacewalk ultimately may be needed. The trouble knocked out one of the eight power channels emanating from the solar wings, a problem that persisted after Wednesday's spacewalk.

"One channel down is not a position you want to be in, but it doesn't send you into really worrying and having to rush out the door," Suffredini said.

Wednesday's spacewalk, meanwhile, earned Williams a place in history. The Navy captain — the lone woman on the crew — is now the world's most experienced female spacewalker with 44 hours spent out in the vacuum over six excursions.

The previous record-holder, Peggy Whitson, sent up congratulations: "You go, girl!"

Williams replied: "Anybody could be in these boots."




Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Family Heartbroken After 4-Year-Old Is Killed by New Dog Dropped Off Minutes Earlier

      The owner reportedly dropped the dog off less than an hour before the attack.

      Inside Edition
    • Teen Girls Arrested After Video of Assault on Man, 62, Appears on Facebook

      Two girls, one 14 and one 15, are accused of assaulting a 62-year-old man who told them to get off his lawn.

      Inside Edition
    • Trooper's widow urges voters to reject legalizing marijuana

      BOSTON (AP) — The widow of a state trooper killed by a driver accused of driving under the influence of marijuana is making an emotional plea against a ballot question that would legalize recreational pot.

      Associated Press
    • Philippines' Duterte tells worried foreign businesses to go

      President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday urged foreign businesses in the Philippines worried about his deadly drug war to "pack up and leave", as he launched another anti-American tirade before flying to Japan to attract investments. Duterte voiced outrage at comments made the previous day by the top US envoy to Asia that his fiery rhetoric and crime war, which has claimed about 3,700 lives in four months, were bad for business. "These Americans are really crazy," Duterte said, as he held up a newspaper with headlines reporting criticism from US assistant secretary of state Daniel Russel.

    • New Wells Fargo CEO to employees: 'We're sorry'

      NEW YORK (AP) — Newly appointed Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan told employees Tuesday that he is "sorry for the pain" that the bank's employees have suffered as a result of the company's sales practices scandal.

      Associated Press
    • Inside Edition
    • Ex-attorney general sentenced to jail, then cuffed in court

      NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once a rising star in state politics, left a courtroom in handcuffs on Monday after getting a 10- to 23-month sentence for a retaliation scheme a judge linked to her all-consuming ego.

      Associated Press
    • The Tesla Model S P100D has smashed another record with a blistering 10.76 second quarter-mile

      When we talk about how fast Tesla's are, we tend to focus on how fast Tesla's vehicles can go from 0-60. The recently released Tesla Model S P100D, for example, is an absolute rocket and can go from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds flat. Understandably proud, Tesla CEO Elon Musk appropriately calls the Model S P100D the fastest production car in the world. But here's the thing: nobody in the real world really lives in a universe where 0-60 time even matters. And yet, we're still overly concerned with 0-60 times as if getting up to that speed in 2.5 seconds as opposed to 3 seconds is all that important or significant. Even the brilliant Vin Diesel eschews the 0-60 metric and instead chooses to live his life a quarter mile at a time. Sure, the quarter mile time is just as pointless as 0-60, but in the interest of spicing things up a bit, the enterprising folks over at DragTimes were up to their old tricks again this weekend when they took a Tesla Model S P100D on a record-setting quarter-mile run. DON'T MISS:  Xiaomi just announced the iPhone 8 we’re expecting next year When the dust settled, Tesla's flagship car completed a quarter mile in just 10.76 seconds flat. "We set a new NEDRA certified record for an electric or any all stock 4 door car with the Tesla Model S P100D Ludicrous running 10.76 in the 1/4 mile at Palm Beach International Raceway," DragTimes notes. Further highlighting how much faster the Tesla Model S has become over the years, the publication adds: "[The] 1/4 miles times dropped astoundingly from the P85 @ 12.3, P85D @ 11.6, P90DL @ 11.2 and now the P100DL @ 10.7, the You can check out the full video below.  

      BGR News
    • 10 pumpkin recipes that make us glad it’s autumn (10 photos)

      It’s October and supermarket shelves across the country are groaning under the weight of piles of little orange globes. Not doing Halloween chez yours this year? Then you could be forgiven for leaving them there but you’d be making a big mistake. We’ve already told you how your pumpkin leftovers can make you hotter , but guess what? They can make you healthier, too. Pumpkin flesh is packed with tummy-filling fibre, vision-boosting vitamin A, cancer-fighting beta-carotene and immunity-enhancing vitamin C. That’s before we even get onto the seeds, whose phytoestrogen and phytosterol content is credited with reducing bad cholesterol, preventing hypertension and enhancing both mood and sleep. Oh, and a single cup of pumpkin puree contains almost as much potassium as the equivalent quantity of coconut water. Meaning your homemade pumpkin spice latte is basically a sports drink. Click through to discover the simplest, tastiest and healthiest ways to squeeze maximum results from this too oft-maltreated member of the squash family.

      Samantha Simmonds, Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger
    • Alert level raised for Alaska volcano after explosion detected

      Scientists raised the alert level for a remote Aleutian volcano on Monday after an explosion was detected on the mountain and heard by residents of a tiny village some 45 miles (72 km) away, a monitoring website said. Cleveland Volcano, a 5,676-foot (1,730-metre) peak on the uninhabited Chuginadak Island, about 940 miles (1,504 km) southwest of Anchorage, was raised to orange from yellow by the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The observatory said that an explosion was detected on Cleveland by both infrasound and seismic data and heard by residents of Nikolski, a settlement of less than 50 people on Umnak Island about 45 miles (72 km) to the east.

    • Driverless truck from Uber's Otto makes Colorado beer delivery

      A self-driving truck built by Uber's unit Otto made a pioneering delivery of beer in Colorado last week, Otto announced Tuesday. The 18-wheel semi loaded down with Budweiser made the 120 mile (200 kilometer) trip from Fort Collins through the center of crowded Denver to Colorado Springs using only its panoply of cameras, radar and sensors to read the road. The test came just six weeks after Uber launched its demonstration self-driving car service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, gaining a jump on the many automakers that are now developing systems for cars and trucks to pilot themselves.

      AFP Relax News
    • The Latest: Driver in fatal bus crash sued in other wrecks

      PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a tour bus crash that killed 13 people in Southern California (all times local):

      Associated Press
    • Philippines Duterte tells U.S. to forget about defense deal 'if I stay longer'

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit out at the United States on Tuesday, saying he did not start a fight with Washington and it could forget about a military agreement between both countries if he were to be in power longer. Duterte said he was against the presence of any foreign troops in his country and the United States could "forget" an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Philippines, if he stayed longer, without elaborating. The United States, he said, should not treat the Philippines "like a dog with a leash", adding to confusion about the future the longtime allies' ties.

    • Civil rights hero from 60s takes criticism as Trump backer

      HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — Clarence Henderson was hailed as a hero nearly 60 years ago when as a young black man he participated in a sit-in at a segregated North Carolina lunch counter.

      Associated Press
    • Russia Unveils The New 'Satan 2' Missile That Can Supposedly Wipe Texas Off The Map

      Russia has been in the news lately largely thanks to its attempts to relaunch the Cold War on the internet and its unquestioning support of the Assad regime in Syria. The Satan 2, officially known as the RS-28 Sarmat, has been an open secret for a while now as Russia has more or less engaged in the geopolitical equivalent of a marketing campaign. The Sarmat has been rumored to have missed several key points on its development timeline, and modern Russia is notorious for making claims about its military capability that are not backed up by fact.

    • Allah Wants ISIS to Retreat

      The Caliphate’s propagandists are digging through the Quran to prove that getting beaten back in Mosul doesn’t stray from the preordained plan.

      Foreign Policy Magazine
    • 'Nothing short of a miracle' how kids survived suicidal bridge fall with dad, police say

      "When the officers found the children -- conscious and alert -- it's nothing short of a miracle, that's for sure," said Captain Christopher Depuyt with the Pequannock Police Department.

      WABC – NY
    • 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T AWD

      Back to the parts bin.

      Car and Driver
    • Big 12 hot seats topped by Charlie Strong at Texas

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Charlie Strong began his weekly news conference Monday by spending a couple of minutes discussing the multitude of self-inflicted wounds that cost Texas in its lost to Kansas State on Saturday.

      Associated Press
    • We just entered an alarming 'new era' of global warming

      The Earth permanently passed a global warming threshold last year that alarms climate scientists and has profound consequences for everyone alive today — particularly young people looking forward to the future.  According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), observatories around the world found that in 2015 and 2016, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere crossed the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm), and that this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.  SEE ALSO: The Great Barrier Reef isn't dead, despite its viral obituary This is the highest level ever seen in all of human history and is 144 percent higher than the pre-industrial average. Such a high level is also very likely the highest on record going back to between 800,000 and 15 million years ago, based on various studies.  For perspective, scientists have found that previous periods with similar carbon dioxide levels — all of which occurred before modern humans evolved — had far higher global average temperatures and sea levels than today. In some cases, such periods had global average sea levels of 100 feet higher than today. 800,000-year history of carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere, showing the recent spike. Image: Scripps institution of oceanography/mashable Many scientists think that avoiding dangerous climate change will require getting carbon dioxide concentrations down to 350 parts per million, which will require massive emissions cuts and new technologies to push annual emissions into negative numbers. While the planet was flirting with the 400 ppm mark on a month-to-month basis at some observatories, it had not yet breached the line worldwide for an entire year until 2015, the WMO found in a report released Monday.  The rate at which greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are accumulating in the air guarantees that growing impacts from climate change, ranging from rising sea levels to hotter heat waves and ocean acidification, will continue to occur and in fact worsen in coming decades.  Carbon dioxide levels in 2016, with various emissions scenarios projected through 2100. Image: Climate Central This is in part because carbon dioxide can last in the air for thousands of years, which is why environmental advocates and policymakers say we only have one to two decades at most to act before an unsafe amount of climate change is essentially baked into the climate system.  The WMO report found there was a nearly 40 percent increase in the warming effect on our climate (technically known as "radiative forcing") between 1990 and 2015, due to the increase in greenhouse gases in the air. Scientists at the greenhouse gas monitoring station high atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii have said that carbon dioxide levels will not dip below 400 ppm for many generations, according to a WMO press release on Monday.  “The year 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris climate change agreement. But it will also make history as marking a new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement.  In fact, last year saw the largest annual spike in greenhouse gas concentrations on record. Part of this sharp annual uptick is due to the strong 2015-16 El Niño event, which caused droughts in tropical areas that normally absorb carbon as so-called "sinks."  Drier than average weather in such areas, including Indonesia, reduced the ability of tropical forests to suck up as much carbon dioxide as they usually do, and increased the occurrence of forest fires that release carbon dioxide into the air.   “The El Niño event has disappeared,"  Taalas said. "Climate change has not."