NASA have just reported that it is “at a loss” on how to fix a stuck bolt on the International Space Station. This follows a six-hour spacewalk which saw astronauts trying to free the offending bolt.
The space station is whizzing round the Earth, 200 miles above the surface, at 17,000 miles per hour with an astronaut clinging to the outside, trying to loosen a bolt. And he can’t.
Back to the airlock.
The jammed bolt means it’s impossible to install a new power system which the Russians have sent up to the $200 billion (that they’ll admit to) box in the sky.
Following numerous attempts to free the offending bolt, the ground crew said they were out of ideas. In fact Jack Fischer at NASA’s Mission Control Centre in Houston said: “If you guys have any thoughts or ideas or brilliant schemes on what we can do, let us know.”
As it happens, Jack, I do.
Now, I am a technical incompetent. If I had to knock a nail into a plank of wood I wouldn’t know which end of the screwdriver to hit it with. However, I know a few blokes who could help out.
As a performer I often work with backstage technical crew – the roadies. These guys are amazing. They can fix anything and get any piece of equipment to work again, no matter how goosed it first appears. They are miracle workers, possibly in league with the Devil.
Yes, they may have straggly hair, beards, boots, shorts, and beer-stained Dire Straits T-shirts. But they also have belts with lots of pouches that hold all kinds of weird and wonderful tools and implements. With all that magical paraphernalia, they can fix anything – and I do mean anything.
One told me: “If you can’t fix it with Gaffa tape… you need more Gaffa tape.”
And another gem of wisdom from a roadie was: “If you can’t fix it by belting it with a hammer, it’s an electrical problem.”
I tell you, if you shoot one of these guys into space with a can of WD40 and a roll of Gaffa tape the problem would be solved within minutes. I bet they wouldn’t even need a spacesuit!
There you go: Houston, we have solved your problem.