MacGyver in space? Astronauts fix space station with toothbrush. (+video)
Using makeshift tools that included a spare toothbrush, a pair of spacewalking astronauts successfully fixed a vital power system aboard the International Space Station.
It took hard work, determination and some MacGyver-esque ingenuity for a pair of spacewalking astronauts to fix a key power system aboard the International Space Station Wednesday (Sept. 5).
NASA spaceflyer Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide spent nearly 6 1/2 hours yesterday outside in the vacuum of space to properly install a pair of bolts that had caused problems for the pair during a previous spacewalk last week.
In addition to their regular spacewalking gear, Williams and Hoshide were armed with some makeshift tools — including an improvised wire cleaner and a toothbrush — to help them get the job done.
On Aug. 30, Williams and Hoshide completed a marathon spacewalk that lasted more than 8 hours, but the astronauts were thwarted by a stubborn bolt and were unable to finish connecting the so-called main bus switching unit (MBSU). The stuck bolt forced NASA to add Wednesday's extra spacewalk.
But, following last week's unsuccessful attempt, flight controllers, engineers and veteran spacewalkers worked around the clock at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to devise a solution to the problem. Using only the supplies available on the space station, the teams came up with creative new tools for Williams and Hoshide to use to install the MBSU.