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.