Weightless Testing of a “Ratchetless” Extravehicular Activity Wrench 1999-01-2036
Conventional ratcheting tools do not work efficiently in confined spaces and they have other limitations when used in space during extravehicular activity (EVA). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a three-dimensional (3-D) sprag/roller technology that has many benefits over the ratchet mechanism. The Space Systems Laboratory at the University of Maryland is using this technology in the development of EVA tools. The research discussed here describes the testing of an EVA roller wrench aboard NASA’s Reduced-Gravity Flying Laboratory (the KC-135), evaluation by astronauts in NASA/Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and the flight of a 3-D roller mechanism on Space Shuttle Mission STS-95.