Score One For NASA Ingenuity
Discovery astronauts repaired a damaged solar panel on a
potentially dangerous venture outside the space station on
Saturday, accomplishing the task in a little more than seven
As ANN reported, a section of
the panel snagged and ripped earlier this week when the
accordion-like sheet was unfurled.
NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski used needle-nose pliers, wire
cutters and a spatula-like device to free a stuck solar panel,
according to a Bloomberg report.
Parazynski, 46, made the repairs while standing at the end of a
boom attached to the station's robotic arm, measuring almost
60-feet long. He had to avoid touching the panels with his suit or
the metal tools during the 7-hour, 19-minute spacewalk, as they
could transmit electricity from the solar array.
The panel, which helps supply power to the orbiting outpost, was
worked on by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Prior to the repair, it couldn't be unfurled completely though it
was generating electricity at 97 percent capacity, according to
Spacewalker Doug Wheelock, who made his third spacewalk, was on
the truss near the solar array, assisting Parazynski and talking to
crew inside the station who steered the robotic arm. Both are
members of the STS-120 crew onboard the shuttle Discovery.
Parazynski installed five hinge stabilizers, or "cufflinks" made
by the station's crew, to the damaged solar wing.
The spacewalk is the fourth since the shuttle arrived October
25. Three days after their arrival, spacewalker Daniel Tani found
metal shavings inside a joint that rotates wings on the opposite
side of the station during a spacewalk, as reported by ANN.
NASA determined repair to that joint was less urgent than the
solar wing repair.
Now that the solar wing is repaired the shuttle’s crew
will prepare to leave the station. They will close the hatch
between the shuttle and the station at 1343 EST on Sunday,
after interviews with European media, off-duty time, and
Discovery is scheduled to undock from the station Monday
(Images courtesy of NASA TV)