Station Astronauts Wrap Up Leftover Tasks

Although Discovery returned safely to Earth, there were still a few unfinished tasks. The astronauts on board the International Space Station picked up the torch, and wrapped them up in a 6.5 hour spacewalk on Friday. This helps prepare the station for the upcoming launch of Atlantis, to deliver the European Columbus module.

Discovery landed on Friday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, completing 15 days in space. In addition to bringing and installing the new Harmony module, the astronauts redeployed a solar array to a new location. And that’s where the problems happened. While they were unfolding the array, a guide wire was caught, and tore open a fold between solar panels.

The astronauts were were able to build “cufflinks” that reconnected the panels, but this additional spacewalk meant that other tasks couldn’t be performed.

The goal of Friday’s spacewalk was to wrap them up. Commander Peggy Whitson and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko went outside the station today to disconnect various electrical cables and stowing them away. Some route power to visiting shuttles the others connect the shuttle’s docking port to the Destiny laboratory.

On Monday, flight engineer Dan Tani will use the station’s robotic arm to move the shuttle’s docking port from its current location on Destiny over to the newly attached Harmony module.

And then on Wednesday, another spacewalk will move the Harmony node to its permanent location on the Destiny module.

Two additional spacewalks are planned to hook up power, cooling and data connections to the Harmony module.

This crew is going to be busy.

Original Source: NASA Station News