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Shuttle astronauts complete EVA
Posted: Tue, Dec 11, 2001, 7:59 AM ET (1259 GMT)
STS-108 EVA Two astronauts conducted a spacewalk outside the International Space Station Monday in an effort to fix problems with the station's solar panel drive motors. Linda Godwin and Dan Tani spent four hours and 12 minutes outside the shuttle and station Monday during the only spacewalk scheduled for the STS-108 mission. They completed the primary purpose of their spacewalk, installing thermal blankets around two cylindrical drive motors that control the large solar panels on the station. Engineers hope the blankets will prevent large temperature swings in the motors that NASA believes cause the motors to stall on occasion. Godwin and Tani also attempted to lock one of four latches that secure the starboard array to the station, but could not get it to move. The latch failed to lock when the array was installed last year, but its failure to lock is not a major concern since other latches hold the array in place securely. The spacewalkers also attempted to complete a number of "get ahead" tasks in preparation for spacewalks on the STS-110 mission next year, but ran out of time before completing all of them. The spacewalk was the 18th this year, a record, although NASA predicts that 22 spacewalks will take place next year as space station assembly ramps up again. The rest of the STS-108 and station crews spent Monday continuing to unload the Raffaello cargo module, a task that will continue on Tuesday.
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