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7 HOLES In The Space Station – Smarter Every Day 135

Ok, it’s Destin. – Deh, it’s Dustin.. – Destin, Destin. – Destin. – You got it. – OK, I’ve got it. – [laughs] Alright here’s the deal. We are with Don Pettit. – Have you thought of changing your name to something that’s easier to pronounce? – Just think of the module, there’s a Destiny module right over there. – OK, hey it’s me Destin, welcome back to Smarter Every Day. Now a lot of the pictures you see from the International Space Station come from the cupola, on the inside here, right? So the the cupola’s on node 3? Is that correct? – Node 3. – Node 3. Alright, so this is astronaut Don Pettit. You may know this guy. You’ve done all the, like, city tracking, and things like.. – Yeah I did a lot of cities at night, and then the night time aurora and time lapse sequences of earth, many of those you see have been done in this module when I was at the helm of the camera. – He’s the junk, let me just say it that way. You’re the junk when it comes to space photography, right? Can you say that? Say I’m the junk? – No I can’t say that cause I just.. I get too embarrassed. – I’m gonna meet you on the other side, Ok? So, seriously he’s the junk. Like all the really cool aurora stuff, Don’s the guy that took it. [music] – Now this is a cover. [knocks on it] – So we call it a shutter and it protects the windows from micro meteorites when the shutters are closed, the windows are protected. And also thermally insulates the windows from the radiation environment of space. – So can you shut these things from the outside? – No, you can open and close it from the inside. – OK wait. On the inside you’re throwing a lever or something, and it.. – Yeah you’re turning a knob. – And it’s.. – Opens. – On the outside. – On the outside. – How do you do that and maintain a pressure seal between them? – O-ring type seals. – No you don’t! – With a rotating check. All our hatch seals are O-ring type seals. – Yeah but how.. Ahh my brain’s.. – Let’s go inside, we can see it. Watch your head. – Oops thunk. – So you have a whole series of O-rings in here and a shaft that you rotate. – So, I mean on the space station how many of these would you have? – Seven, because we have seven windows. – What happens if you get a leak on that? – Um, then you have a leak. – You just have a leak. and you lose air. – And what you would do is you would probably seal the whole cupola off and then there’s probably a plan I don’t know off the top of my head but there’s probably a plan for replacing the mechanism, it might require a space walk. – So my question is how can you operate a lid on the outside of the space station by manipulating something mechanical on the inside of the space station, without losing air pressure. – It’s called real good engineering. – OK you heard Don Pettit. He said that it takes a really good engineer to design this sort of thing. I’m told the guy quit working on the space program and now owns his own motorcycle parts business. Is Charlie here? Is he upstairs? – You’re doing the interview right? – I’m doing the interview. What is the name of this place? – Pit bull products. – Pit bull products? – Yeah. – Are you Charlie? – Yeah – Hey I’m Destin. This guy is Charlie VanValkenburgh. He went to Auburn University as an industrial engineer and he’s got like well over a dozen patents. 20 years ago he was the lead engineer over the cupola shutter design but after the project finished he stopped and went and built his own business. Now he’s building this. It’s a special stand that uses leverage to pick up a motorcycle so people can work on it. He’s so humble about his skills though that even the people that work with him had no idea what he did for the space station. When Charlie’s team was working on this they called it Space Station Freedom. Which is a really cool name by the way. This program morphed into the International Space Station program and Charlie’s drawing package was handed over to the Italian space agency so the italians could fabricate it. Charlie however kept an entire drawing package, cause every good engineer knows you might have to go back and look at what you did. We talked about the handles, we looked at the bevel gears, we talked about the cartridge assembly. OK we found what might be the most critical part of the entire drawing package. This is the inner shaft, and you can see right here there are two grooves, and those grooves are held to within 2000ths of an inch. The reason that’s important is because the interface between the inside of that groove and the outer wall that compresses the O-ring you have to control that, because you’re taking a circular O-ring and you’re gonna squish it to an oval. Is that right Charlie? – That’s correct. – There’s another detail of those O-ring grooves right? – Right. These are the dynamic grooves. Those two are the ones that actually are turning. – Did you hear what he just said? He said they’re dynamic O-rings. That means there’s a shaft running through it. Actually rubbing on the O-ring. So you’ve got the air that you’re breathing as an astronaut right? And it’s being held back from the vacuum of space by two little bitty O-rings. That’s incredible! So this design that you made 20 years ago is still being operated today flawlessly. How does that make you feel? – I hope it’s flawless. [laughs] – A couple of months ago I was sitting here and I tweeted something and I noticed it was favorited from an astronaut on orbit. [Pffshhh] Blew my mind, right? But if you think about it it makes sense. These astronauts are getting smarter every day by doing science off the earth for us here on the earth. Pretty amazing. Anyway, turns out it was real so I decided to seize the opportunity. – You’re sure that Italy built from our design right? I never really knew. – You don’t know? – I didn’t follow up on it, no. – Well um.. The Italian astronaut said that was how it was built. – Hello. And welcome to the cupola on the International Space Station. In the cupola we have seven windows and every window has its own shutter. And Smarter Every Day, with whom I have connected via twitter asked me to give you a demonstration of how we open and close the shutters. I guess it’s because I’m Italian and the cupola you know was built in Italy. So here we go, it’s pretty easy. Each window has a handle that looks like this. And you just turn it, obviously in the closed direction if you want to close the window, and here you can see the window coming closed, or the shutter. And when you get close to the end, to the closed position, you kind of want to be careful because there is no bumper so you don’t want to hit the structure real hard. It’s a direct mechanical connection. Shutters can only be operated manually. And it’s kind of cool to think that there is this shaft that goes sort of through the structure, the other side is in outer space. It feels cold but the regular metal cold, not really really cold. And again, when you get close to structure you want to be careful not to hit real hard. So this is it. It’s pretty simple. I’m European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station, and you are getting Smarter Every Day. Have a good one. – She just did the Smarter Every Day outro from space. [Pshhhheww] That’s crazy! Follow these guys on twitter. Follow all the astronauts on twitter. They’re taking pictures out of the cupola every day and tweeting it to your phone. Why would you not do that? And what was the astronaut’s name? – Samantha. – That’s right. So, go follow them on twitter. Awesome stuff happens when you follow them on twitter. Would you like to add anything? – Smarter Every Day! [laughs] – [distant] Dad. – What? – [distant] I love you. – I love you too. Have a good one. They already did the outro from space. We don’t have to do that. If you feel like we’ve earned your subscription please consider clicking on one of these O-rings to subscribe. Thank you very much. Are you excited about space? – Yeah. – What are these called? Do you know? – O-rings. – O-rings, that’s right.
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