Using strips of aluminum, a hole punch, bolt connector and 66 feet of wire, astronauts constructed solar array hinge stabilizers that should allow them to take the pressure off of the damaged hinges on the solar array. The contraption will work similarly to a cufflink, with the wire fed through a hole on the solar array and the strip of aluminum supporting it from below.
Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski will make the repair while suspended from a boom attached to the space station’s robotic arm, and Mission Specialist Doug Wheelock will assist from the station’s truss. Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Dan Tani will be operating the station’s robotic arm from the robotic work station inside the Destiny laboratory.
Assuming that the plans can be completed before the crew wakes up at 12:08 a.m. Friday, the spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 5:28 a.m. Saturday. The crew will continue to work on the tools and procedures throughout Friday.
While the ground continued efforts to plan for Saturday’s spacewalk, the crew completed the initial outfitting of the Harmony node. It will remain at its temporary home on the Unity module until later this month when it will be permanently relocated to Destiny. It will serve as the docking port for future science laboratories supplied by the European Space Agency and Japan.
In the midst of all the activity, the two crews were able to take a few minutes out of their work to talk with former President George H.W. Bush as he and his wife Barbara visited the Johnson Space Center and Mission Control.
“We're so very proud of what you're doing,” he told the astronauts.