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Space Station Spacewalkers Stymied By Stubborn Bolt

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the stripped-threads dept.

ISS 290

Hugh Pickens writes "Reuters reports that astronauts at the International Space Station ran into problems after removing the station's 100-kg power-switching unit, one of four used in a system that distributes electrical power generated by the station's solar array wings, and were stymied after repeated attempts to attach the new device failed when a bolt jammed, preventing astronauts from hooking it up into the station's power grid. Japanese Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide got the bolt to turn nine times but engineers need 15 turns to secure the power-switching unit. 'We're kind of at a loss of what else we can try,' said astronaut Jack Fischer at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston after more than an hour of trouble-shooting. 'If you guys have any thoughts or ideas or brilliant schemes on what we can do, let us know.' Hoshide suggested using a tool that provides more force on bolts, but NASA engineers are reluctant to try anything that could make the situation worse and as the spacewalk slipped past seven hours, flight controllers told the astronauts to tether the unit in place, clean up their tools and head back into the station's airlock. NASA officials says the failure to secure the new unit won't disrupt station operations but it will force engineers to carefully distribute electrical power from three operating units to various station systems and says another attempt to install the power distributor could come as early as next week if engineers can figure out what to do with the stubborn bolt. 'We're going to figure it out another day,' says Fischer."

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Red Green solution (2)

itchybrain (2538928) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206985)

Duct tape?

Just thinking out loud here: how many bolts does it take to hold down the power unit in the first place? If the original plan calls for ten bolts, then one missing bolt would only diminish the strength by 10%.

Re:Red Green solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207055)

I believe it is held in by two bolts. The bigger problem is that the bolt is built into the MBSU ("power unit") and it may not be easy to remove to bolt and allow it to be connected by just one. It needs to be fully attached so that the electrical connectors and cooling fins are connected.

Re:Red Green solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207207)

Duct tape?

How about Excessive Force.

Re:Red Green solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207487)

Well, Duct Tape is "the Handy-Man's secret weapon" after all. But, as usual, TFA (yes, I actually read it) offers wwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy too little information for us to comment of with any useful ideas.

So this Slashdot forum will be full of bad advice and cheap puns and failed jokes (all as usual).

Unless someone with a clue posts (that actually did happen once - it was back 1998).

Yours Etc.,

R.G.
(At The Possum Lake Lodge thumb-typing on this less expensive Samson iThingy clone)

Re:Red Green solution (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207747)

Yep. I predict a whole bunch of armchair engineers telling NASA how to unscrew a bolt on a trillion dollar space station.

Duct tape, WD40, ... I think I'll skip this one.

Come on, this is 2012 (-1, Flamebait)

sabri (584428) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206989)

I would expect that in 2012, NASA engineers would be capable of producing bolts that fit. Haven't they learned anything from Hubble?

Last weekend I watched NASA's "When we left the Earth" again on Netflix. They are capable of great, great achievements. Yet, they keep shooting their own foot with these tiny little things..

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207045)

you're obviously not an engineer. the big things are made up out of tiny things. its always* a tiny things that gets you

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (-1, Flamebait)

sabri (584428) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207183)

you're obviously not an engineer. the big things are made up out of tiny things. its always* a tiny things that gets you

Not a mechanical engineer, no. I'm a network engineer. And when I build a network, I make sure to catch the "low hanging fruit" when I test things.

And when it comes to testing bolts, even with my non-mechanical engineering background, I can see that this is low hanging fruit. Will this bolt be able to turn 15 times in this configuration? I'm sure NASA would have been able to test that in their fish tank, and they probably did; with a different bolt...

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207335)

Did you test each individual capacitor in your mid-2000 Dells? If not, shut the fuck up.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207861)

Do those mid-2000 Dells run in space?

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (5, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207369)

Presumably you also test your systems in a vacuum and 300C swings in temperature? Conditions in space are very hard to replicate on the ground and all sorts of weird things happen to metal-on-metal contact in vacuum. The problem here could be (a guess/example) something related to 7% extra torque being needed because of a temperature swing which then bends the male threads slightly, exposing an non-oxidised layer which then vacuum welds to the female thread. Could be a lot of things, and you can't test space technology 100% without, you know, putting it into space.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (1)

sabri (584428) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207721)

Could be a lot of things, and you can't test space technology 100% without, you know, putting it into space.

Fair point!

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (1)

SniperJoe (1984152) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207767)

Very true! If I have a difficult time removing or installing a bolt (removal especially), often you can use heating or cooling on the various pieces to make it easier. It's odd using a torch on one piece and ice on the other in an attempt to dislodge something. I can't imagine how the interplay between different materials could impact things while in space given the huge swings in temperature.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (2, Funny)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207817)

Not only that, how is the heat transferred to the bolt going to behave without convection to carry it away? How are you going to heat it in the first place? Can you do that in a space suit? Can you do that safely in a space suit? "Space is tricky. Really, really tricky. Honestly, you have no idea how mind-bogglingly tricky it is, I mean, you think it's tricky having to manufacture cadmium free tools to work on titanium coated hypersonic jet aircraft? That's a doddle compared to space..." (with apologies to DNA)

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (5, Informative)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207389)

Mechanical design is very different, I've done both. You're working with analogue systems, which means that everything has a tolerance - let's compare it to 'bits of accuracy'. You can go to a higher accuracy, but it becomes vastly more expensive. Unfortunately, every copy of the component is different, which is scary for CS people. Imagine if every time you created a copy of something, it was *guaranteed* to be slightly different.

So, you suggest doing something like 'unit tests'. Well, that's what they did, and that's what happened here, a unit test failed. They should be getting 15 turns, but are only getting 9. They're not sure why, so they're going to brainstorm and come up with a bunch of possibilities, discount as many as they can based on physics, design etc, and see if they can figure out what's wrong.

Perhaps it would be better if the summary included something like "a unit test failed", then the CS people would understand.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207659)

They're probably not equipped to fix the problem and new tools will have to be sent. If you or I were up there, we'd want a tool set that could disassemble and reassemble and repair every part of the station and a big box of spares for everything. That's not what they have.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207421)

you're obviously not an engineer. the big things are made up out of tiny things. its always* a tiny things that gets you

Not a mechanical engineer, no. I'm a network engineer. And when I build a network, I make sure to catch the "low hanging fruit" when I test things.

And when it comes to testing bolts, even with my non-mechanical engineering background, I can see that this is low hanging fruit. Will this bolt be able to turn 15 times in this configuration? I'm sure NASA would have been able to test that in their fish tank, and they probably did; with a different bolt...

Are you seriously saying that you've never tested a network device in your test lab that was supposed to be a drop-in replacement for older technology already installed in the office (which is a unique environment that's not repeated anywhere else in your organization), then had the new device fail to work when it was plugged in without having someone tweak the configuration?

And it's often the "low hanging fruit" that causes the problem when it's something out of the ordinary...like that someone had to force the port from autonegotiate to 100mbit because there's a flaky connection somewhere between the device and the core network so the autonegotiated 1000mbit connection wouldn't stay up, and building management refuses to replace the network cable.

In this case, they discovered metal filings when they unbolted the old unit, and though they sprayed them out with compressed nitrogen, there was apparently significant enough thread damage that the new bolt wouldn't go in.

A test lab tries to approximate reality, but it's hard to do a complete simulation of a component exposed to the vacuum of space with repeated and severe heat/cool cycles as it's exposed to and shaded from the sun.

I don't doubt that they tested everything right down to the exact same bolts (probably machined by the same vendor, and possibly even made from the same ingot of raw metal), but no test lab is a perfect representation of the real-world. Most spacewalk maintenance is rehearsed dozens or hundreds of times on earth before attempted in space.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (1)

sabri (584428) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207765)

Are you seriously saying that you've never tested a network device in your test lab that was supposed to be a drop-in replacement for older technology already installed in the office (which is a unique environment that's not repeated anywhere else in your organization), then had the new device fail to work when it was plugged in without having someone tweak the configuration?

For mission-critical networks, we have a lab setup which precisely emulate the production network: same ports, same software, same physical connections. The only difference is physical. In those cases, reconfiguration means someone messed up a test.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207453)

Because a seized bolt is not part of your experience you think it is a rare thing that can't happen.

A bolt and nut system is very simple but especially when manufactured to fine tolerances it can seize due to a small piece of debris or a slight ding to the threads.
In space WD-40 is not really an option.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207567)

If you're an electrical or computer engineer specializing in networks you should have enough experience to know that a single bent or corroded pin, or slightly non uniformly applied piece of solder can ruin you day.

If you're on site somewhere, especially somewhere remote, it's hard to know just how things will get messed up. What works in a lab is very different than after you've shipped it off some place and tried to get it to behave there.

Before you deploy a network you obviously test it in your own lab under exactly the same humidity, temperature, radiation exposure, altitude and personnel as for on site right? To what tolerance? You also test all of your backup equipment by having samples you store in exactly the way they're going to be stored at a live test sight, so you know what the probability is of something happening to them during storage?

Now we know single bit flip in an ethernet packet is just the sort of low hanging fruit of problems that we have network engineers for right? So I'm guessing you developed your own mathematically perfect CRC that you have published and that we should all use, to solve the 'low hanging fruit' of single bit flip errors? Just like a thread on nut and bolt right - you can take your perfect errorless network hardware, put in an aircraft, fly it to a remote island 12 time zones away you know you, with absolute certainty, that it will work 100% of the time? You should get a PhD and write articles about your techniques, the rest of us could really benefit from that.

Maybe you're not on the software side of things, but more hardware, say telephone twisted pair. Now as you know, the reason we twist pairs of wires is to prevent a signal on one wire from inducing a field on another. So I'm guessing you have some piece of equipment that can verify that all the twisted pair sets of wires you use are optimally twisted? What's it called?

Ok I'll stop being a snide asshole, unless I find out you're one of my former students.

You're right, that yes, good engineering is supposed to predict problems in advance and plan for them. You do as many tests as you can, and hope that you've figured out what problems will arise. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work perfectly, there's always some random error involved, that you have to cope with on the fly. On the ground I would say 'try another bolt', up in space, when you've got a dude in a space suit simple solutions become very expensive, time consuming and very risky. I used to do something very similar to network engineering as an on site guy, and problems that take 5 minutes to solve in the lab can take hours in the field. And think about the problem they're having they removed an old unit, and in doing so a bolt shaved. They don't, apparently, have spare bolts easily accessible for this. Now they have a tool that can apply more force to the bolt, but that could break the bolt, so rather than trying it (and it might work, and everyone is happy, and no news story gets posted on /.) they decide to take some time, think about it, probably test out a few scenarios on the ground, and go from there.

Notice also how they seemed to have some idea what to do when there were shavings from the bolt - they tried to blow away the pieces with nitrogen - someone planned enough to figure carrying a can of nitrogen might be useful, but I suspect that's a tricky problem with gloves on where you can risk puncturing the glove.

Trying to work in space, and to a lesser degree underwater, is very much an exercise in trying to not make things worse - even if you think you have a solution to this problem you're better to not screw it up and wreck hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment or a bolt that probably several hundred if not several thousand dollars to even get there (a single 100g bolt would cost anywhere between 400 dollars and 4000 depending on what launched it there).

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207631)

> Not a mechanical engineer, no. I'm a network engineer.

So then...No, you're not an engineer.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207077)

Sounds like you haven't turned a whole lot of bolts in your day.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207785)

The bolt may fit fine but be crooked. Add to that the temperature going from -250F to 250F and it's not as simple as simple minds think.

Re:Come on, this is 2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207815)

I hope you learned your lesson here: don't criticize NASA, or be prepared to be modded down.

I can move the bolt. (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#41206991)

Using the power of SCIENCE, I will move the bolt! Thank GOD for SCIENCE, without it we would still be living on Earth like those poor stupid Italians!

Lubricant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207037)

Clearly they need to oil the threads. Or use anti-seize. Or give the tiny Japanese man a cheater bar. ;)

Exactly what I was thinking... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207113)

If a bolt will not turn, lubricant is a pretty clear answer...

As for the cheater bar, that's what they were afraid to try because they are probably afraid of snapping the bolt. Bad thing to do in space.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207187)

You could try WD-40, but I suspect that Newton's Third Law outlaws use of aerosol cans in space.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking... (2)

drumlight (1244276) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207271)

I was amused to see a can of WD-40 being wielded above an F1 car before it left the garage for qualifying ealier in this season.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking... (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207401)

NASA explicitly prohibits cheater bars (they follow the right tool for the right job philosophy, strange isnt it). So that is ruled out too.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207585)

NASA explicitly prohibits cheater bars (they follow the right tool for the right job philosophy, strange isnt it).

Actually anyone who has worked with things mechanical knows, that there is NEVER one right tool for the job, because sometimes the mechanical characteristics of the job is not what you thought.

NASA represents the ultimate in down to the last micrometer planning. But we see clearly that even with millions of dollars and teams planning ahead, even then sometimes a bolt just sticks. And that means either you have to apply more force than you thought, lubricate, or get a new bolt.

So I'm pretty sure with them being in space "new bolt" it out. That leaves "more force" or "lubricate" and I'm not sure if they have the ability to lubricate an item going into space (you'd think they would, I just am not sure).

So the only clear option is "more force" which in the end is probably what will have to be tried as much as they do not like it.

Now "cheater bar" exactly (pipe over the handle) is I'm sure something that would not do, but they did say they have a wrench with a longer handle - in effect the same end result as using a cheater bar (without the risk of it slipping to hurting you). But they probably will have to try the longer handle wrench and see if they can force it.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking... (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207729)

They wouldn't have lasted 4 months on MIR, let alone a decade. That thing was held together by duct tape and lubricated by vodka. It seems the good ol' russian approach to technology applied here too: If force doesn't fix it, use more force.

Space lubricant (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207587)

What are you going to make it out of? It has to function in a vacuum over a wider temperature range. 5W20 oil will evaporate. The Hasselblads sent to the Moon had, as I recall, all the bearings replaced with PTFE so they could function lubricant free. (There is still at least one left on the Moon, if you want to collect it, but it's out of warranty).

Tap and die (1)

HatofPig (904660) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207061)

I suppose there are no tap and die kits [wikipedia.org] onboard to cut new threads into either the bolt or the module. Should be added to the tool inventory.

Re:Tap and die (1)

themassiah (80330) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207161)

I'm not sure you want tiny pieces of metal wandering around in an electrical system located in a microgravity environment. It might be fine if they had some sort of magnetic or adhesive system of sequestering or containing these.

Re:Tap and die (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207313)

What, like the engineer's ghee you lubricate the tap and die with before cutting?

Re:Tap and die (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207807)

ghee??

does that go into a kind of vinda-screw sauce?

I bet if you dipped a bolt into that, it'd screw in.

I'd wonder about what would happen a few hours later, though.

Re:Tap and die (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207875)

I went to the market to check, and they didn't have any vaccumm-proof ghee. None of the vendors had space-qualified theirs! Most of them felt that their ghee would boil off.

Re:Tap and die (4, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207363)

Take it outside and do it.

Space WD-40? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207085)

Any self-respecting engineer has a can of WD-40 handy for moving stubborn bolts, de-greasing and baiting fish.

Re:Space WD-40? (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207181)

Joking aside for a moment, wouldn't the can explode if you took it into an unpressurised environment like space? Even if you did, wouldn't the propellant immediately evaporate the moment it left the nozzle?

Re:Space WD-40? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207251)

wouldn't the can explode if you took it into an unpressurised environment like space?

I doubt it. The pressure difference between the earth's surface and space is less than 15 psi

Re:Space WD-40? (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207407)

No. Your experience is too limited. WD-40 doesn't only come on spray cans, even without NASA's budget it can easily be bought as large cans of liquid and, I suspect, lager industrial sizes, as do many other liquids that would server as well.

Re:Space WD-40? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207409)

Joking aside for a moment, wouldn't the can explode if you took it into an unpressurised environment like space?

The "void" of the space is only 14.7 PSI lower than at the sea level. My guess about the typical pressure in a spray can: around 80-120 PSI - this taking one into space will only raise the pressure difference by 18% - easy to compensate with a slightly thicker wall.

Even if you did, wouldn't the propellant immediately evaporate the moment it left the nozzle?

I wouldn't worry about the propellant, its job is to propel; the higher the "exit velocity" the better the transport/dispersion... At most, the "propelled" would matter - one will need to consider the vapour pressure of it while working at the temperatures in space (maybe the danger is not excessive evaporation, but the freezing once it touches a quite cold surface).

Re:Space WD-40? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207755)

Why increase the wall size when you can simply produce a can with less pressure? Essentially that would lead to comparable results considering that the pressure difference between inside and outside the can would stay equal.

Of course, one should probably first find out how the rest of the stuff reacts when subjected to zero bar air pressure instead of one.

Re:Space WD-40? (2)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207823)

I doubt it, the pressure difference isn't that much. However, in zero gravity the propellant isn't going to stay reliably at the top of the can and the oil at the bottom. You might not get full value for your money when the propellant runs out :)

Re:Space WD-40? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207411)

Anyone with a clue (engineers and mechanics alike) know that WD-40 worthless as a lubricant.
It was designed and works fine as a water displacer, but isn't good for anything else.

Re:Space WD-40? (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207539)

It's great for getting rust off of bicycle chains, but make sure you put some REAL grease on afterwards, or your chain will wear!

Re:Space WD-40? (3, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207461)

Any self-respecting mechanic knows that WD-40 is next to useless for freeing seized fasteners*. You need a good penetrating oil or releasing fluid, e.g. Plusgas.

*It's also a very poor lubricant if you want something that lasts more than a couple of hours.

Re:Space WD-40? (2)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207859)

Found that out after I ruined my skateboard bearings as a kid. My brother's board was a dream because he was smart enough to take the bearings out and pack them in actual grease instead of just squirting in WD-40.

These days the only use I can imagine for the stuff is to keep tools from rusting.

WD40 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207107)

WD40

Re:WD40 (1)

der_pinchy (1053896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207505)

hell no, use PB BLASTER!

Alliteration (1)

hutsell (1228828) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207131)

"Stubborn [Bolt] Stymies Space Station Space[walkers]"
Sigh ... So close, yet so far away.
Unfortunately, there'll be no FTFY coming from here -- move along.

Stubborn Screw Stymies Space Station S-tronauts. (1)

meekg (30651) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207177)

Simple

loosen other bolts (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207141)

Common error with multiple fasteners. Loosen the other bolts, then tighten them all evenly.

Re:loosen other bolts (5, Informative)

crmanriq (63162) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207169)

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Can't tell you how many times this happens to me. You always leave bolts loose, and then incrementally tighten. Hell, you even do it when changing a tire.

Re:loosen other bolts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207179)

yup, probably in a bind.

Re:loosen other bolts (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207375)

Yes and if it can only turn 9 times why can they undo it and use a washer? I'm sure there is a good reason but I have no idea if the specifications for that are publicly available.

Re:loosen other bolts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207601)

You are smarter than NASA!

Re:loosen other bolts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207841)

The closest hardware store where you can buy a washer happens to be on Jupiter or something...

Re:loosen other bolts (1)

der_pinchy (1053896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207529)

hah, try that method with the nose jackpads on a 737 boeing and it still wont work.

Damn... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207191)

Damn those self-sealing stem bolts.

Re:Damn... (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207473)

Damn those self-sealing stem bolts.

Well, at least someone finally found a use for them.

Put soap on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207221)

put some soap on it and it will go all the way in :)

Re:Put soap on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207379)

must've got them from Quark ;)

just needs a bit of heat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207225)

Get the oxy acetylene out all any stuck bolt needs is bit of heat.

In hindsight (4, Funny)

Orp (6583) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207227)

They should have used self-sealing stem bolts, they don't have this problem.

Aliteration achievement (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207305)

Stubborn Screw Stymies Space Station S-tronauts: so stylish slashdot suggests some of the stylish self-sealing stem sort!

Re:Aliteration achievement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207341)

bah! two 'stylish's in there :(

Re:In hindsight (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207839)

But they didn't have any reverse racheting routers to install them with.

Five Foods KILL fat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207261)

Five Foods KILL fat

Seven Odd Foods that KILL Your Abdominal Fat?
Which flat-belly foods actually work...

http://c5739bjhe7ar0q6ju5lbm0zigk.hop.clickbank.net/

temperature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207277)

freeze the bolt, heat the fitting

They must be new here (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207285)

"If you guys have any thoughts or ideas or brilliant schemes on what we can do, let us know."

They're asking Slashdot?!

Re:They must be new here (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207541)

No kidding. This is obviously not a software problem.

The answer is obvious (5, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207293)

Just hammer it in with a crescent wrench.. what's the matter with these people?

Re:The answer is obvious (1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207347)

You didn't used to own a 1987 Mitsubishi Montero, did you? Because there aren't too many people in the world who would use a hammer to attach a battery terminal...

Zero weight! (3, Funny)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207299)

Oh, come on, this thing weights zero in orbit, they can just scotch-tape it in place! ;)

Re:Zero weight! (2)

galaad2 (847861) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207543)

almost zero weight in orbit...maybe at present, but it has a hell of a lot of MASS AND INERTIA.

scotch tape can't keep it fixed in the same place when the station fires its orbital adjustment thrusters and it will move and trash around like a wild bantha when the station is doing orbit adjustments.

Cross threaded (5, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207303)

Sounds like they got the bolt cross threaded.

Just need to back out the bolt, run a thread chaser [amazon.com] through to clean up the threads and try again.

And if NASA has an Amazon Prime membership, Amazon will have it delivered to the space station by Wednesday (if they pay the $3.99 overnight delivery fee). There may also be a small surcharge for orbital delivery.

Try anti seizing compound? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207309)

In a vacuum the metal parts, if very well machined, might be trying to bond together. Ball Aerospace used to sell a compound that was designed to keep the door on the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) from seizing shut in the vacuum of space. They sold it later to coat LP records to reduce friction from the diamond stylus dragging through the groove in a vinyl record. Perhaps they have some of that or moly paste for the threads like used for the spark plug in a gasoline motor with aluminum head threads. Just a thought...

Re:Try anti seizing compound? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207607)

Vacuum welding takes time. I doubt that's the problem. Either the fit is too tight (tolerances were calculated wrong) or they've crossthreaded it. Easy to do the latter when working in space with clumsy gloves while afraid you're going to drop the nut and it will fly off in a different orbit.

Re:Try anti seizing compound? (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207843)

I doubt it is cross threaded, as all these guys "know the drill."

Galling is a common problem with otherwise correctly sized and connected threaded parts. Once a burr occurs, a bolt that otherwise runs free suddenly starts self-welding building up a mass of torn metal in between the threads which just effectively locks the parts together.

Stainless Steel bolts into Stainless Steel holes have a tendency to gall easily.

Sounds like the unit came from IKEA . . . (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207323)

. . . there's always one last bolt that doesn't fit, and too many screws of the wrong size, too few of the right size, a dinky little five-sided hex wrench, and an ancient Egyptian plan for building pyramids written in Hieroglyphics.

NASA needs a gear-head astronaut with NASCAR Hillbilly Armor experience. And a six-pack to offer him, because he will refuse to take pay for such a simple task.

Most Probable Cause: Cross-Threading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207333)

The big question now, if the problem is cross-threading between bolt and threaded bolt-hole, after the bolt has been jammed nine turns, is, can the bolt be removed? Forcing in a cross-thread situation often causes galling, especially in light materials, which causes thread jamming that makes removal require more torque than the cross-threading in required. Removal and check for alignment and thread-fit at first indication of a binding before the normal tightening turn is correct procedure. Especially where extremes of temperature may cause significant expansions and contractions. More especially where original measuring and fitting were done in human environments, at 20 degrees C.

Re:Most Probable Cause: Cross-Threading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207655)

Yeah, I was just thinking that the Japanese probably screwed it up by forcing it 9 turns.

Washers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207413)

Unscrew, add washers for about 6 turns, rescrew.

Ideas (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207463)

"Do you guys have any ideas?"

The all-too-common customer support query. I wouldn't want to be on that help desk.

Low tech anwser... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207467)

What about a bar of soap? Back before WD40 was in everyone's tool chest, a bar of soap was the go-to thing for everything from wooden draw runners to stubborn screws.

Re:Low tech anwser... (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207525)

Use bee's wax instead of soap. Soap is hygroscopic and not all that chemically stable and will induce rust or other difficulties.

Re:Low tech anwser... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207595)

Use bee's wax instead of soap. Soap is hygroscopic and not all that chemically stable and will induce rust or other difficulties.

Rust requires oxygen, so is unlikely to be a major problem on the outside of a space station. There's oxygen up there, but the concentration is very low.

High tech answer (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207615)

Get the beeswax up there at reasonable cost. SCRAMjet propelled bees?

one down, three to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207489)

Isn't this just "normal" wear and tear?
There's always a designed life for these systems.
After a few years, say hasta la vista baby to $100B.

Try an Ersatz Thread Chaser (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207503)

Take a nut the same size as the offending one and cut across one end with a hacksaw (or whatever you have to hand), then fasten it onto the bolt. After a few times on and off the thread should be somewhat better.

Hmmm...Zero Gravity Environment??? (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207547)

Right.

1. Remove bolt.

2. Shine pen camera and light down the hole.

3. Remove foreign object that slipped in there when nobody was looking, or forgot to check first.

It's called the "Law of Small, Easily Lost Items", aka "The Law of Dice".

"Any small, necessary object, when dropped, will travel a distance that is inversely proportionate to the force provided or otherwise available at the moment of dropping, and settle into the most ridiculously inaccessible or otherwise inconvenient location. The level of consternation to be generated in recovery or removal is a multiple of the risk involved in the attempt, times the expense of the most fragile object involved in the recovery, or the physical/mental/emotional pain likely to be generated during a catastrophic failure of said recovery operation."

Oh come on... (2)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207575)

Anyone with a beard would have welded that sucker together already!

Apply heat? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207577)

Maybe if the can apply heat to the nut it will loosen to the point where it turns more easily and take it off. Use a die to clean up an repair the bolt's threads. Send up another nut on the next trip that's tapped out a couple mils oversize, with graphite or maybe buckyball lubricant and a split-ring washer to hold it in place.

Amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207617)

Such progress! Surely human colonization of the solar system is months, nay weeks away by now! Elon? Richard? Let's go!

return it to place of purchase (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207619)

its *certainly* under warranty, right? I would assume so. and you guys all kept the papers? (someone has to have them. check your trunks and gloveboxes).

if you return it in time, you can get a swap. I'm pretty sure.

Just remember folks... (1)

MechanicJay (1206650) | more than 2 years ago | (#41207685)

...Like we used to say in the shop -- Cross threads are better than no threads!

Seriously, back it out and try again, does wonders sometimes.

Another solution would be to make their own tap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41207887)

Apart from the already mentioned assembly technique of tightening all bolts incrementally, if there were power tools aboard such as a dremel, the astronauts could have made a makeshift tap out of one of the bolts by simply cutting a groove along the side. The tap could have been used to clean the burrs out of the threads.

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