70 votes

How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?

Gray tape was used during the Apollo missions, although only mentioned specifically by that name twice. The stowage manifests have several entries for tape. Although "duct tape" or "gray tape" is ...
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  • 46.6k
49 votes

How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?

When I was in shuttle Endeavour's cockpit in May 2008 (the Orbiter was in the Orbiter Processing Facility) I noticed this duct tape applied to the aft Multifunction Display Unit. (personal photo) Two ...
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38 votes
Accepted

If you release a tool outside the ISS in space will it remain at the "same" place forever?

It will not. Once released, the object is in a very slightly different orbit from the space station. If you put the object further out or further in from Earth than the space station it will be ...
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  • 4,566
27 votes
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How are the Mars Rovers maintained?

There's very little opportunity to do maintenance on Mars. I could find an example of shaking the arm of Curiosity to get rid of dust. That's cleaning, and hence maintenance, for the purpose of ...
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23 votes

How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?

My favorite use to DT during the shuttle program was by Story Musgrave. He had problems with his communication gear, so here was his solution: I recall other photos of his engineering solution, but ...
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  • 460
20 votes

Are there any ISS component failures that could cause irreparable harm to the station?

Speculative, but I'll nominate the S0 Truss. This truss segment forms the center of the ISS truss structure and also connects the truss to the chain of pressurized modules. If the S0 suffered ...
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19 votes

Are satellite repairs in orbit still being performed nowadays?

On-orbit repairs are not being done these days. There are no spacecraft from which repairs can be done on orbit. Why not? The Shuttle era showed on-orbit repairs to be very expensive (on the order ...
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  • 122k
17 votes
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Are satellite repairs in orbit still being performed nowadays?

It hasn't ended, it has taken a reprieve. Except for space stations, no docking of any kind is currently occurring (At least, that is publicly admitted), nor has it since the last Hubble Space ...
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  • 119k
15 votes
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What (if any) replacement parts have been 3D printed on the ISS and then installed?

As far as I could find, there have been no cases of 3d printed parts being installed as direct replacements to ISS parts. There is however a history of tools being printed (but not necessarily used) ...
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  • 15.1k
11 votes
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How was the Skylab 'parasol' deployed?

There's a great writeup on this in the NASA tech paper The Skylab Parasol. Big picture, the parasol was packed into an airtight box that attached to the inner door of one of the scientific airlocks. ...
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9 votes

If you release a tool outside the ISS in space will it remain at the "same" place forever?

Great question to illustrate small but measurable effects of orbital mechanics! NO, even if both wrench and ISS are idealized point masses in the same circular orbit. The mass of the ISS imposes a non-...
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  • 6,758
7 votes

Would recovery from these three problems on the ISS each require astronauts on board?

The near collision According to the NYTimes In the section of the station run by the United States, astronauts closed the hatches in case the debris — commonly known as space junk — crashed ...
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  • 12.2k
7 votes

How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?

How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions? So often now that NASA has requested the development a proper "space duct tape dispenser"! Space.com's NASA taps high school ...
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  • 148k
7 votes

What have astronauts used rolls of Kapton tape for?

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 (...
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6 votes

What (if any) replacement parts have been 3D printed on the ISS and then installed?

I'm pretty sure the quote is an overstatement. Though I imagine that over a long enough time, this might become reality. I've checked my usual references, and while there are 3D printers on the ISS, ...
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  • 1,859
5 votes
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Power requirements for NASA's Variable Power Laser Welding Torch

Amada Miyachi supplied a laser unit to NASA during development of this technology, and NASA now uses 3 of these systems: NASA deployed three complete laser and optical beam delivery systems to the ...
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  • 122k
5 votes

Can a cubesat in orbit be operated like a R/C airplane in real time?

At a previous employer I set up a live video feed from a cubesat's star camera and hooked up a joystick to the attitude control system. I guess that counts. You only get a few minutes during a ...
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  • 9,949
5 votes
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Besides HST, JWST and stations, are there any examples of satellites designed for service in space?

A family of spacecraft in the 1980s were designed around the Multi-mission Modular Spacecraft (MMS) bus. This bus was designed specifically to allow for retrieval and repair of the spacecraft by the ...
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5 votes

How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?

1) In June 2007 there was a major computer failure on International Space Station, which left the station without thrusters, oxygen generation, carbon dioxide scrubber, and other environmental ...
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5 votes

How badly would commodity handheld power tools, with cheap "duct tape" modifications, work in (EVA) space?

Thermal control, as mentioned in the comments, is a big problem. Next, many of the power tools currently in use in space are designed to be reactionless (counter-torquing) to reduce the difficulty of ...
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5 votes

How are the Mars Rovers maintained?

Regarding the dust issue: much to the surprise of the early Mars scientists and rover teams, Mars takes care of the dust problem for us! Mars' typical weather generates these dust devils that whip ...
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  • 51
5 votes

How was the Skylab 'parasol' deployed?

This New York Times article about Jack Kinzler, the inventor of the Skylab parasol seems to answer that. The parasol was built out of telescoping fishing rods, spring loaded. Which means the structure ...
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4 votes

What is the most likely range of orbits for on-orbit servicing satellite?

The altitude of a servicing satellite will be dependent on its client, of course. There is no additional challenge to placing the servicing satellite in a given orbit than for any other satellite. ...
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  • 4,159
4 votes
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How to slow a spinning spacecraft externally?

So long as the object you wish to slow is made of metal you can slow it by putting a ring of magnets around it. How fast this will work depends on the metals involved. I do not believe this can ...
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4 votes

Would recovery from these three problems on the ISS each require astronauts on board?

Re: June 2007 computer failure In June 2007 while the Orbiter Atlantis was docked at the ISS during mission STS-133, all 3 of the Russian segment GNC computers crashed. This left the ISS without the ...
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3 votes
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Space maintenance after Space Shuttle Program Shutdown

There have been proposals for automated servicing systems, and NASA is doing exercises with teleoperated repair systems on the ISS. But as of today, if the Hubble shut down due to a power supply ...
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3 votes
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How many leaks have been fixed on the ISS, roughly?

I have found four instances of cabin air leaks on the ISS being publicly discussed. 2001: A leak in the air lines used to scavenge air out of the airlock prior to opening the hatch for EVAs. This ...
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3 votes
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Which S-Band ISS antenna stopped transmitting to TDRS and was replaced during the recent 2021-12-02 EVA?

The ISS has 2 S-band antenna support assemblies (SASAs). There is one on each of the S1 (Starboard 1) and P1 (Port 1) truss segments. This EVA replaced the one on the P1 truss. Source: Downloaded the ...
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3 votes

How would a repair of the JWST proceed if it were ordered regardless of the cost and technical hurdles, depending on when/how it fails?

The question is very broad covering everything from failure to launch to a stuck part requiring a gentle nudge. Someone can address all the engineering solutions to particular problems, but I'm going ...
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  • 7,816
3 votes

How would a repair of the JWST proceed if it were ordered regardless of the cost and technical hurdles, depending on when/how it fails?

In 2007 it was decided to add a docking ring to JWST. (1) This was not for any particular servicing capability. Rather the idea was: who knows what capabilities may exist in the future. (The ...
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