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Dropped Shuttle Toolbag Filmed From Earth

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the that's-insane dept.

Space 389

cathector writes "An article at spaceweather.com reports that the toolbag dropped during Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper's spacewalk has been recorded on film from earth: 'When Endeavour astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped her toolbag during a spacewalk on Nov. 18th and it floated away, mission controllers probably figured they'd seen the last of it. Think again. Last night, Nov. 22nd, veteran satellite observer Kevin Fetter video-recorded the backpack-sized bag gliding over his backyard observatory in Brockville, Ontario. "It was easily 8th magnitude or brighter as it passed by the 4th magnitude star eta Pisces," he says. Spaceweather's satellite tracker is monitoring the toolbag.'" The actual loss of the bag was filmed, too; reader Kagura links in a comment on the original story to this YouTube clip of the bag's escape.

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389 comments

That's no moon! (5, Funny)

Huntr (951770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868323)

That's a tool bag!

Re:That's no moon! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868493)

So I take it we're supposed to not notice that the clumsy person who dropped the damned thing in the first place was a woman. Yay affirmative action!

Re:That's no moon! (5, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868549)

Well, a woman dropped an expensive toolbag. An organisation comprised predominantly of men oversaw the disintegration of the Space Shuttle Columbia...

If you're keeping score, I think women might be in the lead for some time yet ;)

Re:That's no moon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868709)

Thank you.
I don't roam a lot on You Tube, but I was horrified at the number of sexist comments people were making.

Re:That's no moon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25869049)

Only a feminist has the sensitivity to take YouTube comments seriously :P

Re:That's no moon! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868891)

An organisation comprised predominantly of men oversaw the disintegration of the Space Shuttle Columbia...

Yeah, and those same men built the fucking space shuttles, and oversaw a hundred-something successful launches, which means absolutely nothing.

</wastedtime>

Re:That's no moon! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868571)

Hah, yeah, 'cause I see YOU training to be an astronaut. You stupid fucking sexist SOB....

Re:That's no moon! (2, Funny)

slater86 (1154729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868639)

I bet the guys wish they dropped it.Thats some serious bragging rights

"I told ya you need a telescope to see my tool."

Re:That's no moon! (5, Funny)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868697)

I bet the guys wish they dropped it.Thats some serious bragging rights "I told ya you need a telescope to see my tool."

I don't think that implies what you think it implies.

Re:That's no moon! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25869045)

You can see my tool from space!

Re:That's no moon! (4, Interesting)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868649)

That's a tool bag!

Sigh...

There go another set of $10,000 government hammers -- not to mention the $24,000 socket set :(

(Ha. As an aside, I wonder how much that tool bag really cost when you factor in its mass during launch.)

Re:That's no moon! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869065)

While I agree with the complaint that he government spends too much money on overpriced kit, one would presume that if you're going into space, your equipment would need to be manufactured to a higher standard than what's available at Home Depot.

tether (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869115)

I think even home depot quality rope, cable or chain would have been sufficient for a toolbag tether.

Re:That's no moon! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868973)

Enjoy the free porn!
http://mrfriendly.byethost4.com/

dddddddddffffffff (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868329)

lick my bag, bitches

brighter? (1)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868331)

could it possibly have been that really bright thing that passed over yesterday (or maybe the day before)?

Re:brighter? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868433)

Timestamp 1: Witnesses as far as 720 kilometers apart reported seeing what looked like a bright meteor falling somewhere on the Saskatchewan-Alberta boundary around 5:30 pm MT Thursday, according to the CBC.

Timestamp 2: Last night, Nov. 22nd, veteran satellite observer Kevin Fetter video-recorded the backpack-sized bag gliding over his backyard observatory in Brockville, Ontario.

So, no.

Re:brighter? (3, Informative)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868977)

Bad Astronomy [discovermagazine.com] posted an entry devoted to refuting this idea! As Phil Plait says, the very fact that the toolkit has just been sighted shows that it's still up there, and could not have been the fireball.

Beam me up Scotty (5, Funny)

bobbonomo (997543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868343)

Scotty will use it in the future to fix the Enterprise. Good stuff.

Re:Beam me up Scotty (1)

Lershac (240419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868451)

Tht would be cool if they worked in stuff like that to the movies

Re:Beam me up Scotty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868673)

It would be more cool if they worked in some extra vowels. We seem to be conserving them judging by your post.

Re:Beam me up Scotty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868717)

Dwn wth vwls!!!!!

Filmed all the way from Earth? (4, Funny)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868353)

And I can't even find a single Phillips screwdriver in my own closet!

Check out the sexism on the youtube video (1, Informative)

Lershac (240419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868373)

WTF

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868385)

Yeah - I was shocked. Expected some trolling, but that seemed completely vitriolic.

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (1, Insightful)

Lershac (240419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868393)

I mean I live in the Southern US, home of the redneck troglodyte... and I dont know anyone who feels that strongly about this, but evidently somewhere there exists a serious reserve of "brefoot pregnant in the kitchen shut up and get me a beer, honey you need to be quiet the menfolk are talking" types.

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868499)

sounds like a typical liberal reaction to sarah palin.

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868645)

Um, no, this female astronaut is actually quite smart, unlike Sarah Palin. If Palin had been a dude, we still would've said "hey, look at the stupid person". Having tits doesn't mean that when you say something stupid, people will just ignore it.

Don't like us liberals commenting on SP? Then stop bringing her up.

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868687)

And yet you just ignored it when Joe Biden said something stupid.

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868647)

Hillary was/is smart, Palin was/is/always will be a dumb fuck. Its not sexism to dislike the idea of a more powerful Palin, its self-preservation.

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (0, Offtopic)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868699)

Are you serious? "I want to Nuke Iran" Hillary is smart? lol..

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868467)

For all the people that were confused like me, Lershac is presumably referring to the comments [youtube.com] posted below the video.

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868473)

Supposedly secure equipment has been lost during EVA since the Gemini program. Mike Collins lost a camera which jiggled out of a mount on his pressure suit. Its very hard to avoid this kind of problem.

Re:Check out the sexism on the youtube video (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868547)

Hardly suprising. If she had been in the kitchen instead of out losing tools, none of this would have happened. If you watch the video, you can see it would have been quite trivial to hold on to the toolbox properly.

Great! (4, Insightful)

Exp315 (851386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868399)

Exactly what I said as I dropped a bolt today and it rolled away under the car. :-) I suppose something of this incident will go down in history and become the origin of some common expression like Murphy's Law in the distant future. Maybe feature in a future episode of Star Trek?

Re:Great! (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868461)

I suppose something of this incident will go down in history and become the origin of some common expression like Murphy's Law in the distant future.

They hubbled it up!

A "FETCH" unit (1)

griffman99h (671362) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868447)

hey all you engineers. yeah I know you're reading this. yeah I have no idea what the acronym could be but what it does is simple... what sort of energy, processing, and weight requirements are needed to build a little ball of a robot. to detach, fly by, and return, any tool sized object an astronaut may let go of. this shouldn't be that hard. a lot of you guys are smarter than me. I'm sure you can spend a little time writing the equations up here. lets get something going. and if anyone actually gets off their ass and makes something happen, we might even get paid.

Re:A "FETCH" unit (5, Insightful)

Perspiring Blood (1413451) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868485)

It probably would be cheaper just to have the astronauts make sure the bag is continually tethered to something.

Re:A "FETCH" unit (2, Funny)

Aniyn (1268450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868601)

It would actually be cheaper to train astronauts not to throw $100,000 worth of tools away. Well, with the way nasa does things, maybe not....

Re:A "FETCH" unit (0, Flamebait)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868893)

Since it was probably the metric set of wrenches, it wasn't that big of deal. They don't really use those anyway.

The "Don't get sick" health plan (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868961)

"It probably would be cheaper just to have the astronauts make sure the bag is continually tethered to something."

Yeah, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper to just "not get sick or have any accidents" than to pay for health insurance.

Seriously, sh-t happens, as the saying goes. I really don't think it would be that hard to create some sort of little robot, like the person suggested, to fetch stuff. Heck, it doesn't have to even be a robot in the sense of being autonomous. It could just be an R/C device. You probably wouldn't even need any sort of combustion-based engine for the bot, just some sort of compressed gas (air, nitrogen, CO2) nozzles.

Re:The "Don't get sick" health plan (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869125)

> Seriously, sh-t happens, as the saying goes. I really don't think it would be that hard
> to create some sort of little robot, like the person suggested, to fetch stuff.

But it's probably cheaper to just let the stuff go.

The Tool Tray NASA clip... (2, Interesting)

pentalive (449155) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869013)

I was watching some sort of NASA clip that showed a tool tray for on-orbit work. It locked the tools down until you plugged the lanyard from your suit into the tool, then the only way to get the lanyard off the tool was to lock it back into the tray..

Guess that wasn't in use this time.

Re:A "FETCH" unit (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868557)

Perhaps one of these [images-amazon.com]?

Re:A "FETCH" unit (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868621)

You must be new here. Why should I spout my precious knowledge because you had an idea. You went especially wrong in the last sentence when you instructed me to get off my ass. I don't play fetch.

Re:A "FETCH" unit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868723)

yeah, then I think we could go cure cancer, unify physics, prove/disprove the existence of a higher being and develop a 100% environmentally friendly energy source capable of powering the entire planet.

I'm sure we'll be done by lunch.

I've seen it (0)

qbasicjedi (1247790) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868511)

I'm pretty sure I saw an extremely dim object floating behind the station with binoculars on the 20th. My first suspicion was that it was the bag.

Filmed? Those look more like video to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868595)

I don't mean to be pedantic but those of clips look more like video than film. I realize I lot of kids these days don't know the difference...

Re:Filmed? Those look more like video to me. (3, Insightful)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868763)

Have no fear, language has this wonderful ability to evolve giving words new meaning. Definitions of words are not set in stone.

Re:Filmed? Those look more like video to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25869123)

Definitions of words are not set in stone.

Define the speech held down by weed... dude.

Re:Filmed? Those look more like video to me. (0, Troll)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869139)

Gr8! Im gld tht u thnk lyk tht bcoz evrybdy els thnks tht ths iz hrd 2 reed.

Floating corpses (4, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868609)

So does that mean if an astronaut got disconnected and floated off, we'd be able to see them orbiting or flying off too? Kind of morbid.

Re:Floating corpses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868789)

It would be badass if there were enough floating corpses to form a planetary ring system.

Re:Floating corpses (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869099)

Would be kind of a twisted way to memorialize yourself, if only you could stay up there forever...

NASA Bloopers Tape (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868659)

NASA funniest home videos?

Seriously though, I feel sorry for this woman. One minor slip up and because the media latched onto it this is all she'll ever be remembered for. NASA astronauts risk life and limb and while the humour's good we shouldn't forget the effort and sacrifice they make should not be dismissed lightly.

Re:NASA Bloopers Tape (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868899)

Get off your fucking high horse. People are not that stupid. We are not as dumb as you give us credit for. When we laugh about her screw up, we KNOW she's risking life and limb out there. Can't we enjoy it without you fucking slashdotters trying to ruin it for us?

Re:NASA Bloopers Tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868993)

NASA funniest home videos?

Seriously though, I feel sorry for this woman. One minor slip up and because the media latched onto it this is all she'll ever be remembered for.

She would probably not be remembered at all otherwise.

And there are worse nicknames than "Toolbag."

Re:NASA Bloopers Tape (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869035)

Serious question: if she can't tether a bag properly (follow the YouTube links to where she admits to not tethering it), what else is she forgetting, and who will make the "sacrifice" for her mistakes?

Re:NASA Bloopers Tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25869057)

yeah exactly, I think we should also be reminding people just how intelligent and whatnot you need to be just to be considered for the astronaut program, let alone actually get to go in space to do something. Your chances of making it into the NBA or NFL are probably higher!

A reason for exploring underground (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868665)

at least there when you screw something down there you dont have the whole world watching you

How? (1, Insightful)

bXTr (123510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868707)

How, exactly, do you *drop* something in space?

Re:How? (1)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868785)

Pretty easily, anything you don't have tied down is going to start drifting off on its own just by sheer entropy. It's not like they were out in deep space.

Re:How? (1)

bXTr (123510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869131)

Well, she let go of a toolbag, and it floated away from her. That's not the same as dropping something. It didn't hit the ground. It might in a few days, but not immediately which is what happens when you or I drop something here on Earth.

it just needed to be better hung (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868783)

'When Endeavour astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped her toolbag

  1. She was probably trying to sign her name to something and couldn't hold on to the toolbag that long.
  2. She can borrow my toolbag, but go easy on my nuts, and keep it near your cockpit!

Send the shuttle to retrieve it (2, Interesting)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868867)

Simple: when the shuttle's done at the station, detach and intercept the bag in orbit. Voila, $100k saved. They could think of it as a drill for retrieving an astronaut who floats away during a spacewalk.

Re:Send the shuttle to retrieve it (4, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869031)

Simple: when the shuttle's done at the station, detach and intercept the bag in orbit. Voila, $100k saved.

Not a chance. That bag doesn't just float somewhere around the station, it is on an orbital trajectory of its own -
by now probably quite far from the ISS in fact. And unless Heidemarie aimed very carefully, it isn't even in the same
orbital plane. The shuttle doesn't carry enough fuel to do plane transfer maneuvers (that's the main reason why timing is important when launching), and even if it did, it would take a hell of a lot of maneuvering to do a full orbital
realignment - which would probably cost more in fuel alone than those $100k.

Re:Send the shuttle to retrieve it (2, Interesting)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869039)

  1. there is no way the shuttle could retrieve an astronaut who "floated away". Hence, no drill.
  2. For the same reasons that they can't intercept you putative astronaut marshmallow, they also can't intercept the toolbag.

The nature of those reasons are left as an exercise for Dr _Banzai. (Hints: delta-v, ranging.)

danger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25868887)

Let's hope those tools won't be an orbital hazard in the future.

Neat! (4, Insightful)

killermookie (708026) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869005)

Let's put aside any blame, mistakes, whether the media is being unfair...for just a moment.

Seeing that bag just drift off, only a few feet away from the station and then a few days later we see it pass by in orbit from Earth is just amazing. I'm always impressed with whatever we do in space.

Was it my tax dollars that paid for that lost bag? Still worth the money.

She fumbled, but it's not her fault. (4, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869103)

She fumbled, in a high-stress enviroment under high-stress circumstances, but it's not her fault. I actually instantly saw the flaw with something/somebody else when I read this the first time.

what in heavens name is up with a space grease gun leaking grease were it's not supposed to? Were does Nasa get these? At the local hardware store for 10 Dollars a piece or what? This stunt actually went quite well. Imagine her not being able to do her job (or get back to the airlock) because a grease gun explodes all over her helmet visor or something simular.

Say what you want, but somewhere some Nasa engineering team has to get back to the drawing table ASAP and design a greasegun that actually works relyably - Nasa style wise. Or something simular with no moving parts at all. Maybe get a vaseline can and a spatula tied to a string or something - that's probably how the russians do it.
I'd actually be super-pissed at gear that goes haywire on me 7 hours into a stressy EVA. I do climbing - imagine your backback shedding mission-critical gear at 300 meters in the vertical or something simular. Multipling that by a thousand hints the scale of issues we're talking about.

Way more people than just the astronaut are responsible here.

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