Tool Bag Floats Away From Astronaut

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A spacewalking astronaut accidentally let go of her tool bag Tuesday after a grease gun inside exploded. She helplessly watched as the tote and everything inside floated away.


Now, this next report is about putting tools to the test. If you should lose your tools, they can always be replaced at the neighborhood Home Depot. But as NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce tells us, it is not so simple when you're making repairs in space.

NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE: Two astronauts ventured outside of the space station to do maintenance work. The main job was to clean and lubricate a big mechanical joint. It normally lets power-generating solar panels turn to face the sun. At one point, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper realized that she had a problem. A grease gun had apparently gone off in her tool bag, and some of her tools were covered with the stuff.

(Soundbite of spacewalk)

Ms. HEIDEMARIE STEFANYSHYN-PIPER (Astronaut): Yeah, it's on the camera. And I got a little bit on my glove.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: She was trying to clean up the grease when her bag suddenly drifted off into space.


GREENFIELDBOYCE: The astronaut lost a few pieces of equipment, like some cleaning tools and wipes. But NASA said her spacewalking partner had enough to share. Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR News.

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