Feeds

Heidemarie 'Toolbag' Piper resigns as NASA astronaut

Butterfingered spacewalker rejoins US Navy

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

One of NASA's most famous astronauts, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, has resigned from the space agency. She achieved arguably the highest profile of any currently-serving astronaut* when she dropped her tools into an independent orbit about the Earth during a spacewalk last November.

Stefanyshyn-Piper became a mission-specialist astronaut in 1998, having previously served as a diving and salvage officer in the US Navy. She holds an advanced degree in mechanical engineering from MIT.

After qualifying as an astronaut Stefanyshyn-Piper flew as space shuttle crew twice, in 2006 and 2008. It was during the latter trip, mission STS-126 aboard the shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station (ISS), that her famous mishap occurred. While Stefanyshyn-Piper was trying to clean up grease inadvertently spurted from her grease gun, her $100,000 toolbag drifted out of her reach and sailed off into space.

The embarrassed astronaut subsequently described the incident as "very disheartening", adding: "There's still the psychological thing of knowing that we made a mistake and having to live through that. It was hardest coming back in and having to face everybody else."

The orbiting toolbag was for some time a favourite among amateur sky-watchers, but finally re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and burned up last month.

According to a NASA statement released yesterday, 46-year-old Stefanyshyn-Piper is a "veteran" astronaut, and the space agency is sorry to be losing her.

"Heide has been an outstanding astronaut, contributing significantly to the space shuttle and space station programs," according to Steve Lindsey, chief of the Astronaut Office. "In particular, her superb leadership as lead spacewalker during the STS-126 mission resulted in restoring full power generation capability to the International Space Station. She will be missed."

Captain Stefanyshyn-Piper has now returned to US Navy service. However it seems likely that she may never be allowed to forget her last mission as an astronaut. ®

Bootnote

*At least since the departure of lovestruck pepper-spray trenchcoat wig-scuffle pampernaut Lisa Nowak.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?