GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkWhy They Should Use Duct Tape To Fix The Space Shuttle
10:32:07 PM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : 3. Everything
Location : Nashua, NH

According to 3M...

Apollo 13 astronauts used it for repairs and the Apollo 17 astronauts to keep dust off the lunar rover’s fenders; it is now policy to have a roll on every space shuttle mission

And according to this page...

After an unparalleled success story around the world, the VICTORINOX "Swiss Army Knife" is even orbiting the earth as part of the standard equipment of the Space Shuttle Crew.

I can't take my Swiss Army knife on an airplane, but the shuttle does have one. That's a relief!

Some news reports today have said that the shuttle crew may be using an "improvised" hacksaw to trim the gap filler cloth that is sticking out between tiles. Others have said it's a "special" hacksaw designed for spacewalks. It's not clear to me which is true, but why not use the Swiss Army Knife? OK... this is probably a high strength material. Maybe the Swiss Army Knife can't cut it. And the bulky gloves probably make it hard to handle a small knife. I'll grant that one.

But I say they have to find a way to use duct tape in this repair! The fix can't possibly be any good if it doesn't involve duct tape. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that. Every engineer knows that duct tape is the universal repair tool!

OK... so duct tape might burn off, or be blown off. No problem. It should still be part of the repair. They're worried about the fact that one of the astronauts might damage a tile if he bumps into it with his head during the repair. Here's what the New York Times says about it

Like most kinds of repairs, it's conceptually very simple," Mr. Robinson said during an interview with reporters conducted by all the astronauts. "But it has to be done very, very carefully. The tiles, as we all know are fragile." Crew member can damage tiles just by bumping into them.

The main concern, he said, was to watch his head. "I'll be leaning in toward the orbiter," he said, and the helmet adds inches to the top of the head. "So that's what I'll be most careful with.

This where the duct tape comes in. On airplanes, even in coach, you can usually get a little pillow if you as for it. They've got to have a few of those on the shuttle! A little duct tape... a couple of pillows... the top, sides, and back of the helmet... you get the picture! Anybody know NASA's phone number so I can tell them! Better yet, I should file a patent application for System And Method Of Using Duct Tape To Prevent Damage To Thermal Tiles. :-)

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