Page 4                                               Summer 1985

The Joy of Zero-G Juggling

With 'Small Cascade for a Man, , Astronaut Williams Takes

Giant Step In History of Juggling


by Bill Giduz


Man juggled in space for the first time on April 15, 1985, but he ate the evidence!


Don Williams, pilot of the NASA shuttle Discovery, manipulated apples and oranges in what he described as "a slow­motion act" as part of a Houston scientist's "Toys In Space" project. He would like to have used his own set of bean bags, but NASA only allowed two pounds of toys for the experiment in weightless play, so for efficiency's sake the on-board fruit did double-duty.

Since the path of a thrown object continues straight in the weightlessness of space, Williams tossed the fruit from hand to hand across his body to achieve a three­object, two-hand pattern - briefly. Expressing a bit of disappointment in his performance of the historic first, Williams said, "I wish I'd had a little more time to practice." The entire manipulation sequence lasted just two minutes before Williams was called to work on other astronautical tasks. "With time to work it out, some interesting things could surely be done by someone with more proficiency than me," he said.

Don Williams

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