Sometimes, it isn’t just what’s broken or how badly it’s broken, but location can turn a trivial job into a virtually impossible one. Take the last shuttle repair mission to Hubble, for example.
This mission caused all sorts of records to be set, including the longest spacewalk ever! What caused the tremendous setback? A stuck bolt. No kidding. All-in-all, the servicing took five separate spacewalks of many hours each. A nice writeup of the difficulty of these repairs is given by Julianne here. Consider this: if the telescope were on the ground, all repairs could easily have been done in less time than it takes to change the rotors and brake pads on your car.
But it isn’t like repair jobs are trivial when you involve launches.
Well, the National Geographic Channel is showing off the world’s toughest repair jobs, and the season premiere happens tomorrow, June 4th, at 9 PM (EDT/PDT). What are they highlighting? Satellites and launches. The previews look great, and for those of you who were hoping to find some great television shows highlighting science, this may be one you need to check out!