Feeds

Astronauts fix ISS solar panel on spacewalk four

Home for Christmas?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The crew of the space shuttle Discovery have managed to unjam a solar panel on the International Space Station during a record-breaking fourth and final spacewalk of the mission. Mission Specialist Robert Curbeam became the first astronaut ever to complete four spacewalks during a single mission.

The outing was not part of the original schedule for the mission, but the solar panel became stuck as the astronauts were folding it so it could be moved to another part of the station.

The International Space Station, as seen from the shuttle: NASA TV

Curbeam and fellow mission specialist Christer Fuglesang spent almost seven hours wrestling with the array: pulling at guide wires, flipping grommets, and pushing panel hinges (according to NASA). The space agency says the astronauts also had to give the panel a good shake before it came loose and retracted properly.

The panel was part of the "temporary" power supply the station was fitted with six years ago. It has not been retracted since it was first deployed, which might explain why it didn't retract remotely, as it was designed to do.

The next mission to the ISS will see astronauts attempt to retract the opposite side of the array. NASA says part of the purpose of the spacewalk was to learn as much as possible to make that process easier.

The shuttle will undock from the ISS this evening, just after 5pm, eastern standard time. This means the crew should be home by 22 December and, with luck, debriefed in time for Christmas. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?