Fourth Excursion Pushed To Saturday, Fifth Will Have To
Mission managers at NASA once again pushed off a planned
spacewalk to address issues with the International Space Station's
power generating systems.
A planned fourth spacewalk during the STS-120 visit of the
shuttle Discovery has been moved to Saturday, NASA tells ANN. The
fifth spacewalk originally scheduled for that mission was pushed
back until after Discovery undocks from the ISS, which is scheduled
to happen Monday.
On Wednesday, ISS Program Managers changed the priority of the
fourth spacewalk from inspection of a rotary joint to repair of a
ripped solar array. As ANN reported, spacewalking
astronauts noticed the tear Tuesday, as the new solar panel
"We believe we are in a condition where we could over time tear
the blanket further, and if we tear the blanket, if we do enough
damage to the blanket, we could potentially get in a configuration
where we couldn't stabilize the array," said ISS Program Manager
Mike Suffredini, reports Voice of America news. "And if we can't
stabilize the array, we'll have to figure out what to do about
that, and we don't have a lot of options."
Engineers on the ground are still working to determine why the
solar panel ripped... and, thus, to find a way to repair the
Meanwhile, on Thursday the shuttle and station crews continued
spacewalk preparations, transfer activities and enjoy some off-duty
time. They also spoke with former President George H.W. Bush, and
First Lady Barbara Bush, in a teleconference from Johnson Space
Center in Houston, TX (shown below.)
The spacewalk preparations include studying procedures, building
tools and resizing a spacesuit glove. Mission Specialists Scott
Parazynski and Doug Wheelock will conduct the fourth excursion.
Parazynski will ride the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, the
shuttle’s robotic arm extension, attached to the
station’s robotic arm to access a damaged solar array.
Wheelock will provide guidance to the arm operators while they are