Space Technology: Flexi-Firm Tether

At the end of his tether during a space walk, the astronaut suddenly seems to be in trouble. His command pilot orders him back aboard the spacecraft, but he does not respond. Something has happened to him, and obviously he must be recovered. But how?

The problem could arise during any extravehicular activity, and the answer seems simple: haul in the tether. But in frictionless space, the free-floating astronaut is orbiting the spaceship as it circles the earth, and any attempt to pull him in would make him rotate around it so...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!