Astronauts Fold Up a Solar Panel on the Final Spacewalk

Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam. Image credit: NASAOn their fourth and final trip outside the International Space Station, US astronaut Robert Curbeam and Sweden’s Christer Fuglesang convinced a misbehaving solar panel to fold up nicely. The team suited up and began their spacewalk on Monday at 1910 GMT (2:10 pm EST). Working with the panel was hard, slow work, eventually requiring about five hours of poking panels and shaking the storage box to get the stuck sections to fold up properly. With the solar panel safely folded away, the station’s new panels are free to rotate to face the Sun and generate the maximum amount of electricity.

The shuttle Discovery will remain parked to the station until Tuesday evening, and then undock. It’s scheduled to return back to Earth on Friday.