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January 6, 2014 - Tool Time

Tool Time The first power tool designed for use in space was demonstrated fifty years ago this week by Black & Decker. The power drill was similar to a regular home drill, with one important exception: the case and the chuck were designed in a way that canceled out almost all reactive torque. This is essential in the weightless environment of space, where an unanchored astronaut would tend to rotate in the opposite direction of the spinning chuck while the drill bit remained motionless. Specially modified power tools have become essential components of space repair missions. In this image, STS-103 astronaut Steven Smith retrieves a drill from a tool carrier while standing on the mobile foot restraint at the end of the shuttle robot arm during the third Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission in 1999.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

January 6-12, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 6

Epiphany

1998: Lunar Prospector launched

Moon phase Tuesday 7

First Qtr Moon 10:39 PM ET
Uranus 3° south of Moon

1610: Galileo discovers Callisto, Europa, & Io
1964: First power tool for space demonstrated
1968: Surveyor 7 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 8

Pallas appears stationary

1587: Johann Fabricius born
1942: Stephen Hawking born
1973: Luna 21 & Lunokhod 2 launched
1987: Challenger debris buried

Moon phase Thursday 9

1839: Thomas Henderson publishes distance to Alpha Centauri
1968: Surveyor 7 lands on Moon
1990: STS-32 Columbia launched

Moon phase Friday 10

1946: U.S. Army bounces radar signal off the Moon
1969: Venera 6 launched

Moon phase Saturday 11

Venus in inferior conjunction

1978: First triple docking: Soyuz 26, Soyuz 27, Salyut 6
1996: STS-72 Endeavour launched
1998: Lunar Prospector arrives at Moon

Moon phase Sunday 12

1986: STS-61C Columbia launched
1997: STS-81 Atlantis launched
2005: Deep Impact spacecraft launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.