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ExoLance
Extra ISS spacewalk planned
Posted: Fri, Dec 14, 2007, 6:08 AM ET (1108 GMT)
ISS illustration (NASA) NASA announced Thursday that two members of the ISS crew will perform an additional spacewalk next week to inspect a solar panel joint that appears to be damaged. Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani will perform the EVA on Tuesday to inspect the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint on the starboard side of the station. Checks of the joint on previous spacewalks have turned up evidence of metal debris in the joint, a sign that the joint is damaged in some way that could ultimately prevent the joint from allowing the solar panels on that side of the station from tracking the Sun. Engineers now believe that the joint may have been struck by orbital debris or a micrometeorite, causing the damage. There are no plans to attempt to repair the joint during that spacewalk. The spacewalk, added after the STS-122 mission to the station was delayed until next month, is the 100th EVA devoted to ISS assembly and maintenance.
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