MacGyver in space? Astronauts fix space station with toothbrush. (+video)
Using makeshift tools that included a spare toothbrush, a pair of spacewalking astronauts successfully fixed a vital power system aboard the International Space Station.
(Page 2 of 2)
"It was really amazing to watch the ingenuity, to watch the flight controllers," Van Cise said. "It was amazing to see it all come together."Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Space photos of the day: Spacewalks
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
And with the MBSU now up and running, mission controllers are now able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
"Looks like you guys just fixed the station," astronaut Jack Fischer radioed to Williams and Hoshide after the MBSU had been installed and powered up. "It's been like living on the set of Apollo 13 the past few days. NASA does the impossible pretty darn well, so congratulations to the whole team."
And while lives were not in danger on the space station as they were during the aborted Apollo 13 mission to the moon, the atmosphere and tension in Mission Control resembled the experience during NASA's daring rescue in 1970, particularly as it was portrayed in the 1995 film "Apollo 13," directed by Ron Howard.
"Similarities really were there to watch how the team came together," Van Cise said. "Just the theme that comes to mind — we did make jokes and talk about Apollo 13. 'Failure is not an option' is certainly something I mentioned a couple times, because we had to get this installed."
Still, it was the cooperation of the team members, and the creativity of their solutions that made flight controllers draw parallels between today's spacewalk and the Apollo 13 film.
"The free flow of ideas from any corner that might have helped us was just like the movie and in real life," Van Cise said.
- Spacewalkers Fix Space Station Power Unit (Photos)
- The International Space Station: Inside and Out (Infographic)
- 6 Everyday Things That Happen Strangely in Space
Copyright 2012 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.