Mission Specialists Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang have gone back outside the International Space Station to try and get its troublesome solar arrays to retract properly. Imagine a big fold out map, that’s supposed to go back on exactly the same folds. It’s not folding back up again, and nothing they tried from inside fixed it. Time to do this hands on.
Curbeam and Fuglesang stepped out around 2pm EST, and they should get back in around 8:25 pm EST, after more than six hours in space.
They’ve got several techniques they plan to use, including pulling guide wires, flipping grommets, and pushing panel hinges. They’ll even shake the contraption if all else fails.
This spacewalk is a bit of a record for Robert Curbeam, who has become the first astronaut to complete four spacewalks in a single mission.
If all goes well, Discovery will undock from the station at 5:09 pm EST on Tuesday, and land shortly after that.