Feeds

Shuttle crew completes daring wing repair

'Now let's get outta here'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The space shuttle Discovery has uncoupled from the International Space Station and is heading back to Earth, after an eventful 11 day stay in orbit.

The shuttle's journey home will take two days, and it is scheduled to land back at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Wednesday afternoon.

The crew of Discovery spent time this weekend on an unscheduled and very risky spacewalk to repair a tear in one of the solar arrays. The solar panel was damaged after it was installed earlier in the mission, and was being unfurled.

The damage meant the solar wing couldn't be locked into position, according to reports, but after a home made repair kit of "cufflinks" was dispatched with mission specialist Scott Parazynski, the array is back in working order. If it hadn't been fixable, the unextended wing would have undermined the strength of the ISS' structure.

The spacewalk was particularly hazardous because the solar array was charged and could have given Parazynski a serious shock if he had touched it. His boots and tools were insulated for protection.

The crew also identified a problem in the rotary joint of another set of solar arrays. The affected area was installed in June, but had been behaving unusually. Astronauts from Discovery inspected the problem area and determined that metals shavings were lodged in the circular joint.

Although the crew did have spare parts to make the repair, doing so would have put too much pressure on the schedule, so it is likely that the remaining ISS crew will deal with it as part of their routine station maintenance.

NASA says that even without the repair, the space station can power the Columbus science lab from ESA, due to be delivered on the next shuttle flight. The future for the Japanese Kibo lab is less assured, the space agency said. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.