back to article Heidemarie 'Toolbag' Piper resigns as NASA astronaut

One of NASA's most famous astronauts, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, has resigned from the space agency. She achieved arguably the highest profile of any currently-serving astronaut* when she dropped her tools into an independent orbit about the Earth during a spacewalk last November. Stefanyshyn-Piper became a mission-specialist …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

"she may never be allowed to forget"

Well, you know, just until dementia takes over. Problem solved.

EA

0
0

you what ?

a "veteran" astronaut ?

What - they have animals that need attention up there as well ? What is this, some sort of celestial-Noah's-Ark or something ?

0
0
pc
Coffee/keyboard

Gotta love the bootnotes!

Heh!

0
0
Boffin

Sinking ship

Given NASA won't have any use for astronauts soon, isn't she just securing employment by moving on before they all get made redundant?

0
0
Pint

Genius!

"*At least since the departure of lovestruck pepper-spray trenchcoat wig-scuffle pampernaut Lisa Nowak."

0
0
Anonymous Coward

A bit mean

I think it's all a bit mean - next, people will be making quips about how woman aren't spatial...

AC, because I'm not the man of the house.

0
0
Flame

Just goes to prove...

Women should never be allowed to handle tools.... Err, if you see what I mean.

0
0
Silver badge

$100,000 Toolbag

If it had been a $100,000 Gucci handbag she'd have taken more care of it.

On future missions NASA should stick a Gucci label on all it's toolbags for female astronauts. At least an astro-toolbag really will be worth $100,00 as opposed to the things churned out of Chinese sweat shops and ticketed with a genuine Gucci label.

0
0
FAIL

@you what ?

You should become more acquainted with the dictionary before casting aspersions on others' vocabulary choices.

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

@lansalot

Go read a dictionary.

0
0
Thumb Up

<title>

Get off her back already, it was just a bloody toolbag. Much rather have a bag drift off than an astronaut. She did her best and that's all she had to do in the first place. Two thumbs up for a job well done Captain Stefanyshyn-Piper!

0
0

Where was a piece of string?

Ive a pair of post Office telegraph pliers here from the 1930's, they have a loop on one of the handles for a piece of string. Seems NASA hadnt learned this basic lesson,

Saved the pole man the trip down to the ground to pick them up, on a cold day.

If your likely to drop it( in gravity of course) or in space let it drift away,

Put a piece of string on it.

As to why women and tools dont normally mix,

Possibly because the male hunter made tools to improve his skills whereas the female made the home. Differnt mind set.

I think handling tools or home making is an inherited skill from as far back as the stone age.

0
0
FAIL

Boats and Seaplanes...

you soon learn to use a lanyard tied to your tools when you work on them...

0
0
Coat

Funnily enough

It looks like a mate of mine is getting the push from work for dropping his tool out in the wrong place. Can happen to anyone, if they drop their tools in the wrong place. Some of us take more care of our tools

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Too much info, dumb idiot, common sense

@AC

"Women should never be allowed to handle tools.... Err, if you see what I mean."

Just because you enjoy same-sex fondling doesn't mean we all do. I, for one, would welcome a woman to handle my "tool".

@Chris W

"If it had been a $100,000 Gucci handbag she'd have taken more care of it... On future missions NASA should stick a Gucci label on all it's toolbags for female astronauts. At least an astro-toolbag really will be worth $100,00 as opposed to the things churned out of Chinese sweat shops and ticketed with a genuine Gucci label."

Wow, could you be any more chauvinist and stereotypical? And what makes you think that the toolbag was really "worth" $100,000? Just because that's what NASA paid for it? The parts may or may not have been made in China; we don't know. At any rate, like most things, it's extremely unlikely that it was "worth" anywhere near the selling price. There's a reason the aerospace industry is so rich and powerful.

@Wortel

"Get off her back already, it was just a bloody toolbag. Much rather have a bag drift off than an astronaut. She did her best and that's all she had to do in the first place. Two thumbs up for a job well done Captain Stefanyshyn-Piper!"

I agree. I wonder how much of a big deal (if any) would have been made if it was a male who let go of the toolbag. It was a stupid mistake to not tether the bag to the astronaut, but mistakes (and perhaps lack of common-sense policy) do happen. The mission was still accomplished, and there was no real effect other than the loss of the toolbag. NASA losing that toolbag would be like a common person losing a penny. In other words, insignificant.

0
0
WTF?

This is another get over it.

I have got all my female sprog their own tools so they have them available and can use whenever they need. It was a bloody accident and anyone could have done it. It's not a female vs. male thing. it's an accidental thing.

0
0
Thumb Up

What's all this then?

The sexist comments in this technology publication are surely a sign of an industry in which absolutely nothing is wrong. Carry on!

0
0

All women are good with tools

No, not that way, get your mind out of the gutter.

Women are every bit as good with tools as men. Even if we ignore women in non-ancient-traditional roles and focus solely on homemakers and secretaries. Homemakers use vacuum cleaners, pans/pots, the stove, the oven, brooms, sometimes sewing machines and/or needles, etc, etc. Secretaries use computers (in some cases even typewriters), pens/pencils, paperclips, their car (to get to work), the coffee machine, etc, etc.

All these things are tools, of course. One of humanity's biological advantages is the ability to recognize, use, and improve the tools used to cope with its environment. We haven't lots this capability.

0
0

Seems to me a planning fail

Pretty obvious that when you are in space you can't rely on things staying where you put them. The science fiction writers knew about this problem, long before spaceflight. I can remember reading about spacemen needing magnetic boots and tethers back before Yuri Gagarin. Of course that was based on the faulty supposition that the spacecraft would be built from steel, can't see the magnetic boots being very successful on aluminium, but the idea was there at least.

Plus we also know now that working in zero g is actually quite demanding both mentally and physically, and we know from aviation experience that it pays to reduce the demands made on people working in difficult situations. So why would you not have some means of making sure that the tools and the toolbag cannot easily be lost?

Speking of old stories, I remember one where the rocket crashed on the moon, in the process breaking the valves in the radio set. (obviously a very old story!) No communication with earth to tell of their plight, until one of the guys figured out that they could get it working by evacuating all the air from the spacecraft, thereby providing the valves with the needed vacuum again. Quite ingenious, although I have to wonder how intact the grid structures would be after the glass has been shattered around them.

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

I feel for her

While the regulars on here (our esteemed Moderatrix not least) are aware of my hostile attitude towards feminism, I can't help thinking that a major reason for her resignation was the endless stream of "women / tools" jokes she would have copped. The fact is, there is no margin for error in space; a second's lapse of concentration can be fatal. If she'd been male, it most likely would have been taken in its stride.

No, I don't like feminist double standards, but neither do I like it when we give them free ammo like this either.

0
0
Joke

@AC and dropped tools

This reminds me of a story. Seems a wildcatter (oil roughneck/worker on drill rigs) dropped one of his wrenches down a well head. Drilling stopped and they proceeded to spend the next day working to pull the wrench back out. (Would have ruined the drill head otherwise.) They finally pulled it out and the foreman handed it to the roughneck - telling him that he was fired. The roughneck looked at him and said "I guess I won't need this wrench any more" and tossed it back down the well.

0
0

the lost toolbag was supposed to have been tied in -- by someone else

There's one thing to add to this discussion -- the toolbag that was lost was supposed to have have been tied into the bigger bag the astros carry on the spacewalk. If you listen to the voice channel during the spacewalk, you can hear Heidemarie say it "was not transferred", meaning it wasn't tied in. It was supposed to have been tied in before the spacewalk started, and tying it in was another astronaut's job, not Heidemarie 's. She takes the heat for something that wasn't here fault, but she's too much of a pro to waste time pointing that out.

0
0
Thumb Up

Women and Tools

Stop the press.

News from my home- My wife has just got me to open a tin can for her.

PS - well she does have a bit of arthritis.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums