How To MacGyver A Million-Pound Orbiting Space Laboratory

When things go wrong on the International Space Station, astronauts often have to get creative with the repairs. Here are 5 of NASA's most MacGyver-y moments.


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Spacewalking astronauts seem to have fixed a leak on the International Space Station by replacing a busted ammonia pump over the weekend, NASA says. This is a good sign, because it could mean the leak was a direct result of the pump, and not an ammonia line pierced by a micrometeoroid.

The station is cooled using ammonia, which cycles through radiators, electrical boxes and heat exchangers to “dump” heat generated by space station experiments and activities. The cooling system has two separate loops with their own pumps, which have experienced problems in the past. NASA still doesn’t know where this leak came from, but it may turn out it was a pretty easy fix.

But other spacewalkers have not been as fortunate. In 13 years and counting, the ISS has required a fair share of repairs, many of which rank as NASA’s most MacGyver-y moments. Click through our gallery to see some examples and to learn how NASA fixed this latest problem.