When Skylab was launched in May 1973, one of the solar arrays ripped off during launch and the other became jammed under a metal strap. The crew arrived at Skylab 11 days later, ready to free and extend the stuck solar array so it could produce electrical power for the space station. NASA had quickly gathered some tools for the astronauts to use to solve the unexpected problem.
This cable cutter is a standard linesman's tool that was slightly modified for the task in space. It was probably used before the crew's launch to develop and practice procedures for cutting the metal strap to release the jammed solar array. The first Skylab crew carried such a cable cutter into orbit and used it successfully during an extravehicular activity or "spacewalk" to make the repair.
Transferred from NASA to the Museum in 1973.
Transferred from National Aeronautics and Space Administration