Well deserved beer
for everyone involved - from the Astronauts through to the techs who devised the tools and procedures to allow this work to happen.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA astronauts have concluded the third, and arguably most challenging, of the four spacewalks required to replace the cooling system of the International Space Station's (ISS) Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) The spacewalk, which saw Expedition 61 Commander, ESA's Luca Parmitano, and NASA …
I would guess spacesuits are made with kevlar or similar puncture and cut resistant materials but sod's law usually insists on at least a little nick on a repair job. Watching your blood boil out of a hole in a space suit can't be much fun so big kudos to the guys getting the job done under time and safely.
You would think that the suits would have something in them which would rush into any hole and block it- something like those little white balls that polystyrene packaging breaks down to, perhaps released when unexpected depressurisation occurs.
If not, I'm sure there's a good reason of course.
I'd send them the tyre repair kit I have in my car if it wasn't for the knowledge that that pretty much kills off the ability to repair the suit with adhesive patches as the stuff dissolves it. Also, it is probably not a popular move to have that accidentally coating the inside of the visors :).
So yes, self-repair would be good but I think we haven't arrived yet at materials that can combine that with being in spaaaaace (sorry, Muppet Show flashback).
While we're at it, when they get clever with materials they may be able to create a tent so people can be inside it and thus work with thinner gloves. I don't think they'd be able to work without because whatever is out there may not take kindly to being re-exposed to breathable atmosphere.
Anyway, just musing. We're some distance from the stuff we consider "normal" in SF stories..
I think I've explained myself badly - I don't think it would be science fiction for tiny balls of polystyrene to be loose (released?) inside the suit.
They would be forced with the air toward the hole and be (hopefully) too large to pass, therefore blocking it. They might not form a perfect seal but hopefully the air pressure differential should keep them roughly in the right place.
I'm not talking about actually repairing the suit - just bodging it until they get back inside, or until they get a chance to wazz some duct tape over the hole.
I think I've explained myself badly
No, I think you were perfectly clear, and I'm sure I have seen something similar used for self-sealing petrol tanks, or similar application. Instead of your polystyrene balls (ahem) you could use something which hardens when in contact with a vacuum but is otherwise viscous or liquid.
I was thinking having them boxed up inside the suit and released either automatically ( on a suprise depressurisation ) or manually triggered ( a "shit, my suit and my finger are both leaking into the void of space" button ).
To be fair it would probably be easier for them to just have a roll of duct tape * dangling from their suit.
* Assuming an adhesive that works in the cold and airlessness of space
I agree, but you’d have thought designing maintenance/serviceability into the AMS would have been a good thing. Esp. When it needed 4 pumps and it’s reasonable to assume component failure over time.
Dicking about with pipe cutters/saws in space seems bafflingly bonkers.
> Esp. When it needed 4 pumps and it’s reasonable to assume component failure over time.
Going by the article it only needs 1 pump so the other 3 were there to deal with the "component failure over time". So either the failure rate was higher than predicted or they are extending the use beyond the the original design life.
The OP didn't say anything about needing alcohol to enjoy oneself. What they said was that a cold one after completing a long, hard day at work is one of life's pleasures. Two entirely different concepts.
The Russian concept of "a little something" is to turn off the brain and body in order to forget the 'orribleness of life. "A cold one" in this context is for relaxing and basking in the personal glow of a job well done.
1. I expect the absence of a handy plug socket might have been a problem.
2. Battery performance generally drops fast with temperature, it's extremely cold up there. When doing old fashioned film photography outside I take two batteries, keeping one in an inside pocket all nice and warm to swap out for the one in the camera. You also have to worry about condensation on the lenses and internal parts when coming back into the warmth so you have to bag things tightly.
I would guess that there is also a heat dissipation problem for any power tools run in a vacuum. Here on Earth, we have all that nice air to carry heat away. In space, not so much.
I would also suspect that you have to use solid based lubricants, because oil would boil off in a vacuum from anything else.
I was watching it live and was amazed how dexterous with tools the astronauts appeared to be compared to days of old. Not sure whether there's been a glove redesign or the people are just better ... In addition there was a more relaxed attitude to the way the job was done - instead of the strictly proscibed methodology there was more "Do XYZ if that seems ok with you" and "you can do that now if you think it's ok" - much more trust in the astronaut.
I must admit that I smiled as the tethered combination spanner floated across the frame ... It's so unusual to see a 'normal' tool used in space, even one that's probably made of stupidly-light alloy. :-)
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