Feeds

Astronauts fix ISS solar panel on spacewalk four

Home for Christmas?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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 It has not been retracted since it was first deployed, which might explain why it didn't retract remotely, as it was designed to do.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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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?