Canonball Run

By Phil Plait | December 19, 2006 4:06 pm

While doing an EVA on the ISS, Space Shuttle astronaut Suni Williams’ camera broke free of its bracket and floated away from her into space.


It’s below and ahead of the station, so it probably won’t cause any trouble that way. I expect it’ll fall into the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in the next couple of years. I haven’t found any official word on that yet though.

However, bring on the beauty of that which is YouTube. You can see this event unfolding for yourself.

Tip o’ the lens cap to

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Humor, NASA, Time Sink

Comments (20)

  1. Randall

    Too bad the camera didn’t have a wireless transmitter and some battery life…that would have been cool to watch.

  2. Shawn S.

    I hope that’s not coming out of her paycheck!

  3. chimango

    funny, what randall said is exactly what i thought after reading the first line.
    i’ve reading this excelent blog for some time now, and i just wanted to say hi! from Argentina (and i promise that we will be eating squid next year)

  4. Mark Martin

    The astronaut didn’t lose the camera. The camera lost the astronaut.

  5. One small snap for a camera…

  6. Andrew

    Well, at least her head was screwed on :)

    As if there isn’t enough junk in space, but have to agree with randall – perhaps NASA can be persuaded for next time?

  7. Mike

    Don’t you just hate it when your camera floats away like that!

  8. The Tarrkid

    The way I see it is – free camera for the first person to get it!

  9. DennyMo

    I’m surprised at how many tools and such are being lost while working on the ISS. You’d think after paying a million bucks for a hammer, they’d be able to spend a couple more on a tether or something. OK, I exaggerate, but you get the idea. I wonder if they’ve always lost tools in spacewalks and just never spoke of it before recently, or if it’s a new phenomenon.

  10. PK

    I love the matter-of-fact dialogue that accompanies the clip. I would have used quite different language… ūüėČ

  11. Aaron F.

    I was going to say two things, but Randall and PK said them already :)

  12. jrkeller

    As someone who designs tools for the ISS I can tell you that almost all the tools have a loop that can be used for tethering the tools. It is up to the user, the astronaut, to do some.

    Tools have been lost before.

  13. BigJohn

    The bolts came loose!! There are so many ways to prevent that from occurring that it is inexcusable! What the hell, might as well hit some more golf balls. It’s cheaper and more fun.

  14. Tom

    Did you read the comments on YouTube? It’s like a competition between the misogynists, the NASA haters, and the global warming deniers to see who can say the stupidest thing.

  15. Brian

    “It√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs like a competition between the misogynists, the NASA haters, and the global warming deniers to see who can say the stupidest thing. ”

    Actually, that’s a fairly decent characterization of the Internet on the whole.

  16. ljk

    Considering the concern over the golf ball hitting the ISS,
    why isn’t the larger and heavier camera an even bigger
    concern with NASA? After all, it too is travelling at 18,000 MPH.

  17. Sion

    Seems reminiscent of the problem with the Wii controller. Did Nintendo provide the camera strap for NASA?

    Seriously though, it concerns me that something may not be done to clean up debris (if at all possble) before there is a fatality in space due to a bolt, tool or orbiting camera coming into collision with an astronaut or their vehicle.

  18. Ticklemonster

    It was faked!!! You can clearly see the um…. fishing line, yeah, and why is the astronaut lit up even when she’s in shadows, hmmmm?


    anyway, free camera!!! I’ll be out in the yard when it comes down, and I bet you a dollar it hits me on the head, lol.

  19. icemith

    Ahem, I’m just glad she wasn’t using an IMAX camera set-up!

    At any rate, I bet the camera uses a non-standard media card or whatever, so it would be no use if it could be privately salvaged.


    PS, I’m back from vacation, not even used a computer at all for more than three weeks, so the e-mail etc. has accumulated somewhat. IHS.

  20. sirjonsnow

    Their first problem was sending a woman to fix something ūüėČ


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