Keith Cowing talks about the kind of hacks made famous by the Apollo 13 mission, instances where the crew had to improvise using materials at hand. He discusses the following: Skylab Rescue - the umbrella used to replace solar insulation and boating tools bought at a local marina; Syncom Rescue - tools made out of plastic and duct tape; Apollo 13 CO2 removal, use of LEM engine, etc.; Apollo lunar rover fender repair; STS-120 EVA solar panel repair, and ISS camera tracker made from a power tool.
Cowing also talks about some of his own projects including the greenhouse he designed and built on Devon Island (and some serious hacks) near the North Pole. Currently, he's working in partnership with NASA Ames to restore a 1960's era Titan I ICBM & convert it for educational use.
Keith Cowling is editor of NASA Watch, an online publication devoted to the free and uncensored exchange of information on space policy and NASA operations. This website is read regularly within NASA, Congress, and the global space community. Cowing is also editor of SpaceRef.com, an online space news and reference resource.
Independent U.S. government agency established in 1958 for research and development of vehicles and activities for aeronautics and space exploration. Its goals include improving human understanding of the universe, the solar system, and Earth and establishing a permanent human presence in space. NASA, previously the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), was created largely in response to the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957. Its organization was well under way in 1961, when Pres. John F. Kennedy proposed that the U.S. put a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s (seeApollo). Later unmanned programs (e.g., Viking, Mariner, Voyager, Galileo) explored other planets and interplanetary space, and orbiting observatories (e.g., the Hubble Space Telescope) have studied the cosmos. NASA also developed and launched various satellites with Earth applications, such as Landsat and communications and weather satellites. It planned and developed the space shuttle and led the development and construction of the International Space Station.