Toolbox on the International Space Station


Ooooh, I like.

I hate helping people whose toolboxes are as organized as a bag of marbles.

I suspect that, in absence of gravity, organization is mandatory. At least on earth, junk heaps stay where you put them.

(Incidentally, I’m surprised at how many different fasteners they are prepared for. I would have expected greater standardization…)

Well the ISS comes from three countries for a start. And yeah I did wonder about standardisation.

Total tool-porn. Love it. Somewhere Tim Taylor’s head is exploding right now.

Please, please, please tell me that every one of those is metric.



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Tell quickly what the thing that hit you in the head last night while you were asleep probably was.

Nope, Whitworth.


Interesting. In another photo, there’s a vice grip – which is indispensable for me, but somehow I hoped the ISS would be better than that. And, no these sockets are not all metric. :frowning:

Is there a light saber…I really think there should be a light saber.

They had a crowbar, a hammer, and a set of files among those tools. One is forced to suspect that very expensive hardware is not immune from the occasional need to be beaten into submission.

It may be hard for scientistic people to understand, but I have heard that, while metric as a measuring system is superior, metric fastener standards are not as tough as SAE and therefore NASA may choose SAE fasteners for a reason other than the fact that metric is just so much cooler.

I used to be a crew chief in US Air Force, so many years ago. All of our tool boxes were foam lined and every tool from a speed handle to a socket had to be in the toolbox when you left the flight line or every plane you worked on was grounded until the tool was found. The tools were etched with the box number too!

Very few tools were ever lost, but sometimes the system broke down and a missing tool was overlooked when returned to supply, speed bits could drop easily into a panel and because the color matched the foam could easily be overlooked on check in. The next person to open the panel usually found it.

Once an engine specialist returned a box that had a missing tool and the entire engine was taken from the plane and sent to engine repair to be disassembled.


I look forward to the see the video of the astronaut trying to pound something into submission with the sledgehammer.

Hopefully that something is not another astronaut.

“Who did it?” – smack – “I know I didn’t do it!” – smack – “It’s not my turd!” – smack

Is this sonic screwdriver at the middle right? :slight_smile:

I work for Boeing and this practice is called ‘shadowboarding’, and a previous poster pointed out the reason for it. Something as small as a socket can end up in a mechanism that prevents landing gear from deploying. If you have everything loose in your toolbox, you won’t be able to visually verify that there is no FOD(foreign object debris) left where it can become a hazard.


to be annoying, this isn’t the one in space, but the earth duplicate.

Nope. Zoom in on the graphic and you will see that the darker colors are metric, the lighter are English, and all are attached with either 1/4" and 3/8" connectors.