Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Hardware & Flown Items
  Swizzle sticks: NASA and Roscosmos reach aids

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Swizzle sticks: NASA and Roscosmos reach aids

Posts: 2454
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 07-21-2013 01:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the book 'We Seven" there is a chapter entitled "Seven miles of wire and a Swizzle stick." The swizzle stick was a short length of - well stick - that was supposed to enable the astronaut to reach switches when under 'g' loads.

Was it ever used or even carried on any Mercury flight? If carried and not used, does it qualify as the most useless piece of equipment carried on a spaceflight?


Posts: 399
From: North Carolina
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 07-21-2013 05:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, the swizzle stick was carried onboard. Here's a photo of Sigma 7's swizzle stick.

I don't know if it was ever used. If not, it was only as useless as, say, the reserve parachute, since it was never used either.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42981
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-21-2013 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reach aid, or "swizzle stick" was still in use during the shuttle program, too, and came in quite handy (no pun intended). A similar device is used aboard the Soyuz.

The flight engineer, seated behind the commander and pilot on the flight deck, used the stick to flick switches out of reach from his seat.

The reach aid, sometimes known as the "swizzle stick," is a short adjustable bar with a multipurpose end effector that is used to actuate controls that are out of the reach of seated crew members. The reach aid is used to push in and pull out circuit breakers and move toggle switches. It may be used during any phase of flight, but is not recommended for use during ascent because of the attenuation and switch-cuing difficulties resulting from acceleration forces.


Posts: 853
From: Danville, Ohio
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 07-22-2013 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Mercury swizzle stick must have been at least somewhat useful, as a swizzle stick was also used in the Gemini spacecraft (located on the right side of the Overhead Switch/Circuit Breaker panel). But as far as I know a swizzle stick was not used on Apollo.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a