Answer(s) to What was Apollo "Moon rope" made out of? Was it ever used? are not completely definitive at the moment, but a comment on an answer caught my eye:

Rope is such a multipurpose useful item that it makes sense to bring along even if there's no direct intended use--there's a reason every adventuring kit includes 30 ft of it.

That sounds so reasonable to me that "I suspect" most crewed missions were given enough rope to do at least something.

Question: Just how much rope have different crewed missions been given? Does the ISS (just for example, there of course have been many missions and stations) have a standard issue of rope on its manifest? Prefabricated cargo net type things probably should not count, "rope" should be ready to be used as such. Cords or cables made of other materials besides hemp are okay if they are rope-like in function; you could go get some from storage and tie something up or to something else with it in accordance with its intended function.

(Yes you could go get some rope memory and after a few weeks hyou might have unraveled enough to do something useful with, but that's not this.)

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    $\begingroup$ I was expecting this to be a metaphor... $\endgroup$ – AakashM Nov 11 '20 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ @AakashM I did try for an analogy once, but it didn't "fly" Should nonsensical question titles be edited? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 11 '20 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ @AakashM: I was expecting literal rope. I might be an engineer >.< Well, I am a former Scout, so yeah, rope is useful stuff :P. $\endgroup$ – Peter Cordes Nov 11 '20 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ same @AakashM - came expecting to read about Apollo 7 lol $\endgroup$ – NKCampbell Nov 12 '20 at 0:00

Each shuttle mission had significant amounts of rope / cable / cordage aboard.


  • sky genies - 40 feet of rope per crewmember
  • RMS rope reel - 80 feet of rope
  • astrorope - 20 feet of rope per EVA crewmember (development item, not normally flown)
  • EVA winch - 24 feet of rope
  • EVA safety tether reel - 35 or 55 feet of cable, per EVA crewmember
  • other miscellaneous EVA tethers

long version

  • Each crewmember was provided with a Descent Control Device (aka sky genie) to lower themselves out of the Orbiter in an emergency postlanding situation. Each sky genie contained 40 feet of nylon rope.

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This picture shows two of the sky genie stowage bags.

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This picture shows sky genie training.

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  • Remote manipulator system (RMS) rope reel

The remote manipulator system (RMS) rope reel comprises a rope spool with handle, spool bracket, rope guide and rollers, and cam cleats. The RMS rope reel holds 80 ft of 5/16-in.-diameter rope.

Provided for various EVA contingency scenarios. Could be used in conjunction with the EVA winch or by itself, to tie down the RMS if it could not be latched, and other scenarios including the laundry bag EVA.

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  • Astrorope:

The astrorope (AR) was one of several different crew self-rescue (CSR) concepts for solving the EVA "man overboard" scenario on Space Station Freedom where no shuttle is available to assist...The AR comprises 20 ft of Kevlar cord with two end effectors or cleats for a bola-type design. It can tolerate a 100-1b tension load.

This was replaced by the SAFER system for self-rescue.

  • EVA winch

The winch has 24 ft of 3/8-in.--diameter Kevlar rope with a hook attached to the end.

The EVA winch was mounted on the payload bay aft bulkhead. It was provided for various EVA contingencies including closing the payload bay doors manually.

enter image description here

  • EVA safety tether reel

The tether consists of a reel case with an integral D-ring, a takeup reel, a 55- or 35--ft cable, and a locking hook. A selector on the reel case can be used to engage or disengage the auto retracting feature of the tether reel.

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  • other miscellaneous EVA tethers

Other tethers, both flight-specific and generic, were available for EVA use.



From Practical Applications of Cables and Ropes in the ISS Countermeasures System, the ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) was eating through 80 inch (2 metre) vectran ropes every six weeks for "several years". This was later switched for a polyester rope that proved more durable, even after an initial splice failure made them go back to vectran ropes for a while.

The same report also has a nice collection of pulleys, brackets and tethers used onboard and the experience with those, although they are primarily wire designs. Rope-like in function but not material.

So there's clearly rope on the station, and it gets used and worn through. For a quantitative measure however of how many metres it's in total, I suspect one has to go through an awful lot of equipment lists.


The Apollo missions carried:

  • Five sleep restraint ropes, 0.2 pounds each, CM stowage location A5. It appears that these were also used to tie down cargo for Earth re-entry. (from Apollo stowage lists)
  • Nylon cord, unspecified amount, inside the (qty 2) Combination Survival-Light Assemblies, CM stowage location R4. (from Apollo Experience Report: Crew Provisions)
  • "Waist tethers", which were brown seat-belt type webbing (nylon?) with caribiners attached at both ends. The length and number seem to vary with each mission. They were first used for the LM-to-CM EVA on Apollo 9. After Neil Armstrong died, his widow found a bag in his closet which contained (among other items) a waist tether that he used on the moon to hold up his legs during sleep.
  • Apollo 11 and 12 also carried the "Lunar Equipment Conveyor". It was 60 feet of webbing, joined at the ends into a 30 foot-long endless loop, with caribiner pulleys at each end. It was intended to hoist equipment between the LM porch and the lunar surface. It worked poorly on Apollo 11, was carried but not used on Apollo 12, and was subsequently deleted. I'm pretty sure that this is the "30 foot rope" mentioned in this question. (ibid)

That's all I could find.


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