Posting a comment over on this question got me thinking as to how insignificant (or not) recorded failures on the Space Shuttle could actually get.

For example browsing the STS-001 Postflight Mission Report yields:

  • Flight test problem report 20 (page 189): Squeal in crews headsets
    (There was acoustic feedback, and not having both the headset microphone and speaker-microphone unit activated simultaneously fixed it)
  • Flight test problem report 40 (page 211): Crew reported trouble locking doors on two stowage lockers
    (They basically still forced them shut)

What recorded problem had the least negative or potentially negative impact on the mission?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You missed the best part of the door snag... "The slide bolt on the waste management door jammed when latched," meaning somebody almost got stuck in the toilet. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Mar 24, 2023 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


That's a good one!

Wow, what to pick: stuck locker doors, slightly hazed windows, problems with the galley.

How about a Velcro problem?

The EDFT-03 utility box evaluation resulted in a Velcro patch on the connector cover becoming loose (Flight Problem STS-72-F-08). The Velcro patch was brought into the cabin at the end of the EVA.

EDFT was the "EVA Development Flight Test" project, intended to try out EVA procedures before Space Station construction commenced. EDFT-03 was a box of connectors and plugs for the crew to evaluate during EVA, located in the payload bay. (Highlighted below). You can see white Velcro patches on the square tubing towards the rear of the box.

enter image description here

Image source: images.nasa.gov, annotations mine

And yes, I get that loose stuff floating around in the payload bay could cause problems. But still.


Per request, a closeup of the utility box with Velcro patches pointed out.

enter image description here

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ @Speedphoenix oh yeah, definitely wait, maybe someone will come up with a stale tortilla problem or something. Hazed windows were epidemic, try STS-048 for an example. Galley also. A galley water leak "that did not impact the use of the galley in any manner" was on STS-038. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2023 at 20:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It occurs to me that not having a Velcro patch in an expected place could, in the general case, cause future problems. Attaching something to a Velcro patch which subsequently floated away definitely would. And a headset squeal might be significant if- unknown to the users- people working on the equipment were trying to minimise that specific problem. $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2023 at 7:17
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @MarkMorganLloyd I don't disagree. And window haze could be bad if lighting conditions were such that it affected viewing through the window at a critical point in landing. I picked the Velcro to try and match the lighthearted tone of the question, and because Velcro was kind of a humorous bete noire of mine - it seemed that whenever I really, really needed to get into the simulator to check something out, it was reserved for a "Velcro mod" session. Check out all the blue Velcro nasa.gov/images/content/650294main_powerdown-cockpit.jpg $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2023 at 11:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman it was typically caused by combustion products released by the solid rocket boosters at separation. Late in the program, they implemented a change to fire the up-firing nose jets at separation, which produced a shock pattern that mostly kept the products from depositing on the windows. See page 21 here ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20090011844/downloads/… $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2023 at 13:28
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @user34314 done $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2023 at 10:55

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.