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Shuttle-Mir Stories - Dunbar on Microgravity

In spaceflight, the element of microgravity makes some things easier and others harder. Sometimes, people need to "free their thoughts" from gravity, in order to find a solution for a problem.

In her Oral History, astronaut Bonnie Dunbar tells about stowing equipment on the shuttle for STS-89, and how - in microgravity - things can be done differently.

Dunbar says, "We were getting ready to fly on {STS-] 89 and . . . they were having a problem with [some equipment], which was going to be transferred over [to Mir] during the flight. They couldn't get it in the locker properly because of a foam problem in the door. So I looked at it and I wasn't trying to be brilliant here - it just dawned on me. I said, 'Well, why don't you just turn it upside down. It will still fit in and the door will close.' And [the technician] looked at me and said, 'We can't do that. How will you read it?' I said, 'I'll turn upside down.'

"When I get up there, it really doesn't matter to me. You end up doing something and then finding out you're sideways, kitty-cornered, whatever. And since [this equipment] . . . was going to be launched . . . on its back, it didn't really matter what other orientation. . .

"They signed off on that and so we solved it . . . simply by turning it around. And that's just a Zero-G mind-set. We apply those principles to restraints, handholds, footholds, and whatever you need, as well." Links: Microgravity

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Tours | Timeline | Shuttle-Mir Background | Shuttle Flights & Mir Increments | Mir Expeditions

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