Sep 26, 2007

Floating Free in Space

How to float free in Space? Look at the picture from NASA, where astronaut McCandless can be seen floating free in space. He was about 100 meters away from the cargo bay of space shuttle Challenger. He was guided by a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). McCandless and fellow NASA astronaut Robert Stewart were the first to experience such an unusual space walk during Space Shuttle mission 41-B in 1984.

The MMU works by shooting jets of nitrogen and has since been used to help deploy and retrieve satellites. With a mass over 140 kilograms, an MMU is heavy on Earth, but, like everything, is weightless when drifting in orbit. The MMU was replaced with the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) backpack propulsion unit. Link


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