An image (also below) in an answer to the question "How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?" shows a roll of the gray stuff next to a roll of Kapton tape, aboard the International Space Station. What do astronauts use Kapton tape for?

We already have the question "Why are crew EVA cuff checklists wrapped in Kapton tape?" (with answer), so no need to repeat that.

Yes, Kapton is used extensively back on Earth in the design and manufacture of equipment, but this question is not about that. It is about why the astronauts in space use it from a roll, either to make or repair something.

gray and Kapton tape

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just asked in the main meta: Question "url" with quotes displays the actual question title during edit preview but not when edit is saved $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 28, 2021 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: Thanks; that behavior seems new. I just tried about a dozen ways to fix it. What you see now seems to work, but isn't pretty. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Apr 28, 2021 at 1:46
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't it being used to stick something to the wall/divider/worksurface/etc in the background of that same picture? $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2021 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ I added the astronaut-lifestyles because they might use duct tape for fun and personal projects. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 31, 2021 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ This questions has (one awesome but) far too few answers! I've encountered on this site numerous references to repaired satellites, including ISS. $\endgroup$
    – Vorac
    Aug 3, 2021 at 10:09

2 Answers 2


Kapton tape was used for various In-flight Maintenance (IFM) tasks on the shuttle.

The Kapton tape was used to repair the standoff cross paint delamination of the Mir Docking Module Axial Target (DMAT) during STS-79 (STS-79 CHIT 015). However, it was officially added to the IFM tool locker for STS-86 and subs.

Source: Shuttle IFM tool catalog ( https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/shuttle_ifm_tool_catalog.pdf )

The Shuttle IFM Checklist has more examples of how it was used, but I have not found it online.

During the STS-120 EVA to repair a torn ISS solar array blanket, Kapton tape was used:

Parts of the suit and the tools were taped with insulating Kapton orange tape. The tape would keep electric charge from conducting between the array and the tool.


Parazynski was told not to touch the array with his gloved hand. Instead, he had with him a tool that had been built inside the ISS, a few months prior, to keep a swaying array from contacting a crew member during an EVA on an earlier mission. This tool, called the hockey stick, was made of nonconductive material wrapped in Kapton tape.

enter image description here

From The International Space Station - Operating an Outpost in the New Frontier page 320


During STS-126 mission to the ISS, astronaut Don Pettit famously used a plastic sheet and Kapton tape to create an open container "Zero-G" cup for drinking beverages like coffee and tea in microgravity. Teardrop-shaped cup exploited fluid's surface tension to hold the fluid and its taped edge acted as a wick to direct fluid to the sipping point. One minute into the following video he describes how he crafted it.


On ISS, Expedition 66 cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov prepared a Herring Under A Fur Coat using a mould made out of a plastic sheet and Kapton tape.

News article: https://ria.ru/20211230/seledka-1766132679.html


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