back to article Spacewalking astronaut drops toolbag

Space shuttle Endeavour mission specialist Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper yesterday dropped her toolbag as she and Steve Bowen worked outside the International Space Station, in the process consigning to oblivion "two grease guns, scrapers, several wipes and tethers and some tool caddies". Bowen and Stefanyshyn-Piper exited the ISS …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Makes a change...

    ...from "it fell off the back of a lorry"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woman drops the "ball"

    Oh great! Send a woman into space and what does she do? Drops her tool bag when startled by a greese gun discharge, thus derailing a multi-million dollar project. I wonder if she would have dropped her purse in a similar circumstance. Did she urinate in her suit? Either way, now the universe has yet more floating trash and our country, in the name of "equality" (what a joke) and equal opportunity, has yet another failed mission.

    I wasn't impressed or convinced forty years ago and neither am I now. Equal rights? How about equal responsibility, ability, experience, judgement, cool under pressure, proven track record and substance before demands for equality?

  3. Andy
    Paris Hilton


    If it had had Gucci embroided onto it, I bet she wouldn't have let go so easily!

    Paris, cos... oh what the hell...

  4. Neil Hoskins

    A colleague remarks...

    "She'd have kept tighter hold of it if had been her bloody makeup bag."

    Personally, I reckon the video shows that she was in a flap at having the mucky yucky stuff on her nice new gloves.

  5. Yorkshirepudding

    why not

    just wait for the next orbit?*

    or tie them on next time doy!

    *yes i know thats scientifically inaccurate but meh

  6. Dan Collett

    Could of been worse......

    they could of let go of a disc full of peoples private data!

    ET Credit Fraud anyone?

  7. Gary

    If it falls back to Earth

    Will it be like Grease Lightning?

  8. Darren Sandford

    Putting things in to perspective

    Losing a screw down in some inaccessible area of a computer case doesn't seem so bad now.

  9. Paul

    A bit of string?

    Could NASA not stretch to a bit of string to tie the kit bag to the suit?

    I wonder how much ScrewFix charge for delivery :)

  10. Simon C

    would that be

    An Astronomic fail?

    /mines the one with the tether to the bag in the first place.

  11. Ash

    If NASA are so smart...

    ... Why don't they fit lanyards to the space suits?

  12. Anonymous John

    I don't understand this at all.

    Why wasn't the 30lb tool bag tethered. She surely wasn't working one handed, with the other holding the bag, was she?

    Nobody does repair work like that, on Earth or in space.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Well then ...

    That'll be beers. At least two rounds, I reckon.

    And what is it with women and tools? At least she didn't take her makeup bag out there by mistake ......

  14. Secretgeek

    Space pr0n

    I'd like to whip the blankets from her berthing mechanism, move my flex hose rotary coupler and release my grease into her crew lock bag.

    Fnarr fnarr.

    Oh dear, I've disgraced myself again.

    Coat please.

  15. It wasnt me

    Did you see the video?

    It was really funny. I know i'll be in trouble for this, but what the hell. The seconds immediately prior to the daft bint offloading the toolbox looked exactly like a lost lippy rifle through the handbag type panic.

    No respect for toolboxes, and no use with a grease gun. Would have been better at making tea.

  16. Chris Pearson

    Expensive mistake?

    Tools are expensive and on earth that tool bags probably worth about £50. Stick NASA on the tools and I bet it's a damn sight more? Was this a million dollar tool box?

  17. Mike Westmacott

    Don't let her near the china!

    Nice vid of it on the beeb

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Women...know your limits!

    Im no sexist and am happy for the little darlings to try their hand at all sorts of manly things......

    but this is what happens if you let women into space AND allow them to take their handbags on spacewalks!

    Women are forever filling their bags with useless crap, then allowing it to explode out at inopportune moments.....

    'grease gun' my arse! space lipstick more like....

    Ill get my coat.........

  19. Peyton

    I'm somehow left with the image

    Of a lady astronaut fumbling through a big, overgrown purse, muttering "now where did I leave that grease gun?!"

  20. Sergie Kaponitovicz
    IT Angle

    "Dropped" In zero G?

    Clever trick - worthy of a Nobel Prize for Fizzwicks!

  21. Lee T.

    Would a lanyard be so difficult to arrange?

    i mean really, what's so difficult about tying things to the suit? you could even make it spring-return, like an rfid pass lanyard.

    <-attaching the bag to the suit...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder......

    If this woman was friends with Lisa "Pampers" Nowak if memory servers When she was arrested, she was carrying a wig, a steel mallet, some duct tape, and a knife( or as OJ calls it, an overnight bag) Maybe this Astronaut was just helping her friend to ditch evidence, Lets face it if they are not going to be getting it back unless it smashes throught he shuttle next time round.

  23. david

    As it floats away I think you can see...

    ...some sort of high tech carabiner...

    ...or it might behalf a pair of handcuffs.

  24. yeah, right.

    my oh my

    What a bunch of sexists we have on board here. How can one tell? Replace "woman" with "black" or some other superficial distinguishing factor, then tell me the statements wouldn't be considered racist. Even as a joke it stopped being funny years ago.

    And I'll try to refrain from the obvious:

    The person fucked up not because they were a woman, but because they were just too stupid or hurried (as an individual) to attach a tether.

    I assume the engineers DID provide a tether for the toolkit? Because if they didn't, then the real fault lies with them. Not to mention creating a grease gun that doesn't work right in a vacuum.

  25. Alex Brett

    Re: Woman drops the "ball"

    "Did she urinate in her suit?"

    She will probably have urinated, although probably not quite into her suit. Astronauts spacewalking (and even during launch and reentry) where what is tastefully described as a 'Maximum Absorbency Garment' (, basically an adult nappy to absorb urine (it will absorb faeces as well, although they generally wait until getting back inside to do that)...

    Otherwise, it could make it a darn uncomfortable 7 hours or so if you needed a piss after a couple of them!

  26. John Angelico

    Losing tools...

    ... must mean that space walks and repair jobs are no longer the stuff of amazement and wonder, but merely business as usual.

    Hey Stef, did you remember to punch your time card?

  27. Magani

    Grease gun?

    What's wrong with the 2 things that keep the universe together - Duct Tape & WD-40?

    Think how much NASA could save on tools.

    Mine's the one with the spray can on a lanyard.

  28. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Space Bags!

    On the starboard bow!

  29. Simon



    I see you share our confidence in women by assuming they are unlikely to have been involved in any of those design testing and planning processes.

  30. Sureo

    Poor design?

    Considering the difficulty of maintenance, it might have been a good idea to design this Solar Alpha Rotary Joint to not need a periodic lube job.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @ Sergie Kaponitovicz

    " "Dropped" In zero G? "

    <physics lesson>

    But they're not in zero G, in orbit around the Earth. It's the Earth's gravitational field that is KEEPING the shuttle, astronauts and toolbag in orbit, otherwise they would all move in a straight line ...

    They are all in freefall (like skydivers) towards the Earth - that's why they APPEAR to be weightless.

    </physics lesson>

    ... with the chalk in the pocket.

  32. It wasnt me


    "Considering the difficulty of maintenance, it might have been a good idea to design this Solar Alpha Rotary Joint to not need a periodic lube job."

    They did. Their design failed. And since banter is no loger allowed here due to the bra-burners getting tetchy, ill get back on script: I expect it was designed by a man. More women in engineering please.

  33. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    A few questions

    I want to know what the inertial force of this toolbag is.

    More to the point, I want to know just how fast that grease gun is going and whether or not it stands a chance of punching a hole through the side of a satellite or the window of the Shuttle in future orbits.

    And how long will it take for the lost items to become shootings stars ? The Shuttle works in low Earth orbit if I'm not mistaken - anything that has mass and no means of maintaining its orbit will plunge back down to the surface in due time. So how long for this bag ?

  34. IcerG

    Get Real

    OK lets get real here, I am a man and would have to think more than twice before going out on a "spacewalk" never mind having the "balls" to even take lift off in the shuttle. Add that to the fact of fiddling about with handtools in a pair of space gloves, I really think the girl needs some sympathy.

  35. Markie Dussard


    I think the real problem is that most of the commenters on here don't actually know any women.

  36. GFK1

    Speeding guns

    "More to the point, I want to know just how fast that grease gun is going"

    From memory, about 17,000Km/hr - a fair bit of inertia then.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Instead of being sexist....

    Replace "woman" with "American" in all above posts.

    Makes it more accurate and removes any sexism.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Markie Dussard

    Yeah, but we've seen pictures of women.

  39. RUF
    Thumb Down

    She screwed up, plain and simple

    She screwed up, plain and simple and acknowledged it - not a big deal. Mistakes happen and this is not gender specific. But she deserves the same criticism if any, that a man would for a similar screw-up. The video clearly shows she forgot about a lack of tethering and whipped out the bag in reflex. Also, everything cannot be tethered, the bag was in a larger envelop that was tethered.

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