An astronaut named Don Pettit brought a couple of yo-yos with him on his trip to the International Space Station in 2012. The resulting video is fantastic!
A few folks recently shared this on a yo-yo messageboard and asked which yo-yos Don was using in zero gravity. I know Don through ORDcamp, so I asked him about his yo-yo arsenal. Here’s his reply:
I brought a number of Yo’s to ISS, most of them Kuhns; Silver Bullet II, Roller Woody, Pocket Rocket, Tom Cat, and YoYo Factory DNA. I took one of my TomCats and reworked the innards on my lathe and made it into a non-responsive with a 10-drop bearing. I made hubstacks and then had it anodized at a local shop that developed a color called “NASA Gold” that is used on Robonaut and our lunar rover prototypes. It is a deep gold hue that I really like. The DNA came with hubstacks, is non-responsive, and came anodized yellow.
For zero gravity use, hubstacks are critical to get an in initial fast spin so that subsequent tricks can be done, all in slow motion. Obtaining a fast spin through simple throw is difficult and yields a nearly uncontrollable yo.-Don Pettit via email on 4/6/2021
Don is a rad guy and I hope to have him on an episode of my PopCast Yo-Yo Vlog sometime. Once this COVID situation is under control, I’m hoping visit Don in Texas and take him up on his NASA tour. So stay tuned.
2 thoughts on “What yo-yos did Don Pettit bring to space?”
This guy is awesome. It would be really cool to have him on the popcast. You’ve got my vote.
I love how he made his own hubstacks and modded the yoyo to work better in space. Who can say that? Probably only this guy.
Dang, “NASA Gold”, same as used on rovers? So.Cool.