Sunday, May 17, 2009

Live in Orbit: Stripped Screw Presents Problem

Two hours into today's spacewalk, Atlantis mission specialist Mike Massimino is struggling to remove a handrail blocking access to a damaged Hubble Space Telescope spectrograph.

"I don't think it's coming out," Massimino said of a screw holding the handrail in place.

He thinks the screw's hexagonal head is damaged.

"It's pretty beat up," he said, after a closer inspection.

The Atlantis astronauts and mission controllers on the ground hope a fresh drill bit at the end of a pistol-grip tool will help grab the worn screw.

The yellow handrail blocks the plate covering electronics cards inside the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. Three fasteners came out easily, but the fourth has caused trouble. It's the right one of the two at the bottom of the handrail.

Massimino needs to remove it so he can install a capture plate over that area to remove more than 100 small screws and washers.

In case the new drill bit doesn't help, mission controllers are reviewing whether it's possible to continue the job with the handrail still in place.


Anonymous said...

If Massimino would slow down a bit and listen more carefully, this would go better. He seems really stressed and I think it's making him act impulsively.

Anonymous said...

I agree. He's prone to overtalking Houston and his colleagues. Probably wouldn't have stripped the bolt in the first place if he had listened when told not to pull the trigger until firml seated on the bolt. He just went ahead and pulled the trigger every time.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic. I am SO ASHAMED of what NASA has become. Once upon a time they were the pride of the USA, not anymore, not by a longshot. What an embarrassment. Did I already say pathetic, that's the word. NASA should be shut down ~ let's find something way better to replace it. Let's put together a team with real brains, and real vision, and real energy, and real desire ~ which we haven't seen in some 30 years. Duh..

Anonymous said...

And, while we're at it, let's make sure astronauts know right from left.

Anonymous said...

Okay...Massimino is obnoxious. Someone has to say it. His colleagues must think he's a jerk. Just listen to that arrogant SOB. He's defensive whenever anyone else makes a suggestion or asks a question. And his "you da man" BS is really annoying to listen to. Yuck.