ISS solar panel only partially retracts
Posted: Thu, Dec 14, 2006, 7:46 AM ET (1246 GMT)
Efforts to retract a solar panel on the ISS were only partially successful yesterday, and NASA was considering a plan to mount an additional spacewalk to stow the panel. One of the two solar panels on the P6 array was supposed to be retracted automatically Wednesday, allowing separate panels on another truss segment installed on the last shuttle mission to move to track the Sun. However, the panel failed to retract smoothly, bending and folding improperly on a number of occasions. After about six hours of work astronauts running the retraction process inside the ISS were able to get the array furled enough to permit the other solar array to rotate without interference, but as of last night NASA managers were evaluating proposals to add another EVA to th4e STS-116 mission to complete the panel's retraction, or to put off the work until an ISS EVA after the end of the shuttle mission. The second of three scheduled STS-116 spacewalks is still planned for Thursday, when Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang will start work rewiring the station's power system.
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