During CBS News senior space analyst Bill Harwood's explanations in the video Russia's space agency severs ties with the U.S. and its European partners they keep showing the same five seconds of an ISS EVA over and over. What I find distressing is the three taut cables in the vicinity of the astronaut, two of which appear tangled/twisted/intertwined, and one of which looks like it might be attached to the astronaut's glove.

I can understand what is actually happening here, what the cables are for or to what they attach on their in- or less-visible ends.

Question: What is the purpose of these three taut cables near an ISS astronaut during EVA? To what do they connect and why do two appear intertwined? Does one connect to the astronaut's glove?

Here are some screen captures from the video; annotated, cropped and otherwise "enhanced" with the goal of simply helping to indicate what I think I'm seeing.

click for full size:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Isn't it obvious that a video about "space ties" shows, well, space ties? :) $\endgroup$
    – TooTea
    Mar 7, 2022 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


Partial answer with info to help other answerers -

The picture was taken, probably from the helmet cam of the other EVA person, at a point on the P4 truss. The view point is right above where the thermal radiator sprouts out of the P4.

I attempted to duplicate the view but failed due to lack of knowledge of the SSRMS configuration. I can nevertheless identify many objects in the view which might help other answerers.

simulated view of the ISS configuration from the question

You can see that I don't have the SSRMS in exactly the right place here, and my patience at trial and error for it is limited. The viewpoint is not right either. But it's close enough to ID the location and major features.

The two twisted tethers are attached at the top of the picture to the SSRMS end effector or the Articulating Portable Foot Restraint (APFR) which is also attached to the end effector. (The APFR has a numbered dial on it.) One of these is a safety tether for the EVA crewmember, the other likely is for whatever they are working on.

Similarly, the tether stretching out to the left of the picture is either another safety tether for the crewperson, or a tether for the workpiece.

Since I don't know which (I could not ID the particular EVA) this must be a partial answer.

Image generated using the NASA tool DOUG, available for the price of filling out some government forms.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.