In the Smarter Every Day video How to FLY A SPACESHIP to the SPACE STATION - Smarter Every Day 131 the host Destin Sandlin (seated in the center seat of a Soyuz capsule) asks astronaut Scott Kelly (seated on the left side) about reaching the controls especially when under high g force during launch to orbit.

Destin: When you’re actually flying here, you’re gonna be under intense acceleration, so how the heck do you push that button right there for example?

Kelly: The guy in this seat can kind of reach, but the guy in the center seat has a stick, he can push the buttons.

Destin: So he just grabs a stick and he sticks it up there.

Kelly: Yeah, it’s a fancy stick, but it’s a stick.

What does the "fancy stick" look like, and how fancy is it?

edit: This situation is not unique to Soyuz. Have there been other "fancy sticks"?

Smarter Every Day Soyuz Capsule

Smarter Every Day Soyuz Capsule

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    $\begingroup$ A personal anecdote, not worthy of an answer... having sat in both Shuttle and Soyuz trainers, the Soyuz instrument panel is awkwardly far away from the seats, especially in comparison to Shuttle (or even a car). I suspect it is a consequence of the ingress method (hatch on top -- need to provide room for people to get in) and general lack of movement space in the descent module. $\endgroup$ – Tristan Feb 6 '18 at 15:25

Here's a good picture of the Soyuz' stick (called указка, 'pointer', apparently the same word as used for a laser pointer or presenter's pointer stick) showing that it has a sort of "pistol grip" and a ball on a stem, and possibly 20-25cm of shaft length:

enter image description here

I'm not sure why the body of the shaft isn't a simple rod; perhaps it folds in half or telescopes.

You can see it the center seat's hand at the start, and in action at about 2:27 in this cockpit video of the TMA-17 launch.

enter image description here enter image description here


The shuttle equivalent to this was known as the "Swizzle Stick" or formally the Auxiliary Reach Mechanism. Seen here in use in the Shuttle Mission Simulator.

enter image description here

It telescoped, and had a metal "loop" on one end that fit over a circuit breaker, and a slightly flexible square bracket on the other that fit over a switch. It was, of course, equipped with Velcro.

There is no truth to the rumor that MS2 would whack the side of the commander's helmet with this device if he or she reached for the wrong switch.

Photo source


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