Encyclopedia Astronautica
2007.11.03 - STS-120 MCC Status Report #24


With a few pieces of aluminum and a little bit of wire, Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski today repaired a damaged solar array during a spacewalk that lasted 7 hours, 19 minutes.

Parazynski and fellow spacewalker Doug Wheelock left the International Space Station at 5:03 a.m., and spent about an hour and a half riding the station’s robotic arm out to the torn array – about 165 feet down the station’s truss and 90 feet up to the damage.

Once there, Parazynski cut a snagged wire and installed homemade stabilizers designed to strengthen the array’s structure and stability in the vicinity of the damage. Wheelock helped from the truss by keeping an eye on the distance between Parazynski and the array.

They completed the repair just after 10 a.m., and then stood back to watch for complications as flight controllers on the ground finished the deploy, which began on Tuesday. The delicate deploy sequence called for the array mast to be deployed one half bay at a time. Fifteen minutes and 13 computer commands later, the array was fully extended.

“One of the most satisfying days that I’ve ever had in Mission Control,” Derek Hassman, lead station flight director, said of the operation.

Parazynski and Wheelock then made their way back to the station’s airlock, to end the spacewalk at 12:22 p.m.

The array repair became the priority of space shuttle Discovery’s mission on Tuesday, after two tears were noticed during the array’s unfurling. Teams on the ground worked around the clock to develop a plan for the repair, and the crew spent much of the past two days studying and making tools.

With that task behind them, the shuttle’s crew will prepare to leave the station. They’ll complete final transfer work, say their farewells, and close the hatch between the shuttle and the station at 12:43 p.m. CST Sunday.

Monday will be another busy day with undocking scheduled for 4:32 a.m. followed by a fly around of the station and an inspection of the shuttle’s heat shield.

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