Astronauts working on the International Space Station have lost a tool bag.
Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper watched helplessly as the kit drifted away from her as she serviced the solar array system on the orbiting platform.
The briefcase-sized tool bag is one of the largest items ever lost on a spacewalk.
Stefanyshyn-Piper's slip occurred as she was greasing a rotary joint on the station's giant starboard solar array system. The joint has been unable to automatically point the solar wings toward the Sun for maximum energy production for over a year.
Just as she was finishing up the job, the tool bag became untethered from a larger kit case and floated away along with a pair of grease guns, wipes and a putty knife.
She reached out, but to no avail. The lost bag is now moving ahead of the station and increasing its distance to the platform, giving flight controllers confidence it poses no danger to the ISS.
The space station marks its 10th anniversary on Thursday. The first component of the platform - the Russian Zarya module - was launched on 20th November 1998. The construction of the station is nearly complete and the international partners expect to be using it well into the next decade.
19 November 2008
Just set that anywhere....
ZUI this article from the Beeb:
CAPT Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, USN