One was a modified toothbrush that was used to lubricate the inside of the bolt's housing after debris and metal shavings from inside had been removed. Another improvised instrument included a cleaning tool that had been made from wires that were bent back to form a brush, explained Kieth Johnson, lead spacewalk director at the Johnson Space Center. [Photos: Spacewalkers Fix Space Station Power Unit]
"We knew that we had particles down inside the socket, so they came outside with yet another tool that was developed by the ground team," Johnson told reporters in a post-spacewalk news briefing.
The inventive ideas that led to today's spacewalk success demonstrates how well the teams on the ground and in orbit work together, and shows the dedication of those involved in the agency's space station program, said flight director Ed Van Cise.
"It was really amazing to watch the ingenuity, to watch the flight controllers," Van Cise said. "It was amazing to see it all come together."
And with the MBSU now up and running, mission controllers are now able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
"Looks like you guys just fixed the station," astronaut Jack Fischer radioed to Williams and Hoshide after the MBSU had been installed and powered up. "It's been like living on the set of Apollo 13 the past few days. NASA does the impossible pretty darn well, so congratulations to the whole team."
And while lives were not in danger on the space station as they were during the aborted Apollo 13 mission to the moon, the atmosphere and tension in Mission Control resembled the experience during NASA's daring rescue in 1970, particularly as it was portrayed in the 1995 film "Apollo 13," directed by Ron Howard.