Astronauts Lose Tool Bag By Mistake During A Spacewalk On The ISS
Astronauts lose tool bag by mistake during a spacewalk on the ISS. NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara conducted their inaugural spacewalk this month, maneuvering through space with a tool bag in tow.William WillisNov 14, 2023482 Shares6887 Views
Astronauts lose tool bag by mistake during a spacewalk on the ISS.NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara conducted their inaugural spacewalk this month, maneuvering through space with a tool bag in tow. The space agency reported that the duo successfully completed maintenance tasks outside the International Space Station (ISS) in a duration of six hours and 42 minutes.
During the spacewalk on November 1, Moghbeli and O’Hara focused on the station's solar arrays, responsible for tracking the sun. Despite their efforts, they ran out of time to remove and stow a communications electronics box. Opting to defer this task to a subsequent spacewalk, the astronauts instead conducted an assessment of how the job could be accomplished in the future.
In the course of the lengthy mission, a tool bag slipped away from the astronauts, leading to its "loss," as reported by NASA. Flight controllers were able to spot the drifting bag using the external cameras of the International Space Station (ISS). Fortunately, the tools contained in the bag were not essential for the completion of the remaining tasks.
“Mission Control analyzed the bag’s trajectory and determined that risk of recontacting the station is low and that the onboard crew and space station are safe with no action required,” NASA said on its official blog. As per EarthSky, a website that monitors celestial occurrences, the tool bag is presently orbiting Earth ahead of the International Space Station (ISS). There is a chance that it could be observed from Earth using a pair of binoculars over the next few months until it eventually disintegrates in our planet's atmosphere.
Instances of astronauts losing tools in space are not unprecedented. In 2008, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper experienced a similar incident when her tool bag drifted away while she was engaged in the maintenance of a malfunctioning rotary joint, cleaning and lubricating its gears. Another occurrence took place during a 2006 spacewalk, where astronauts Piers Sellers and Michael Fossum lost a 14-inch spatula while testing a repair method for the space shuttle.
Space debris, like these lost objects, refers to artificial materials orbiting Earth that are no longer functional. This category encompasses a range of items, from small paint chips to discarded parts from rocket launches.
In September 2023, the European Space Agencyreported that there were 35,290 objects being tracked and cataloged by various space surveillance networks. The cumulative mass of these objects in Earth's orbit exceeded 11,000 tons.