The International Space Station spread its new set of wings Tuesday, and the STS-117 crew members prepared for the mission’s next spacewalk.
The solar arrays on the newly installed Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment deployed to their full length with the assistance of the STS-117 crew. The S3/S4 was attached to the station Monday before the start of STS-117’s first spacewalk, during which astronauts began activating the truss. The arrays will increase the station’s ability to generate power when they go online.
Tuesday’s deployment activities occurred in steps, beginning about 11:43 a.m. EDT. The forward-facing array on the S3/S4 was first deployed to its length of 115 feet. The procedure was repeated for the rear-facing array which was fully deployed about 1:58 p.m.
Then, the STS-117 astronauts enjoyed a few hours of off duty time before beginning preparations for the mission’s second spacewalk on Wednesday. Mission Specialists Steve Swanson and Pat Forrester will continue the activation of the S3/S4 and assist in the retraction of the starboard solar array on the Port 6 (P6) truss during the spacewalk. Wednesday’s excursion is scheduled to begin at 2:03 p.m.
The P6 will move from its location atop the station to the end of the Port 5 truss during a future mission.
Late in the workday, STS-117 crew members participated in interviews with CBS News and El Paso, Texas, TV stations KFOX-TV and KTSM-TV.
Managers Add Spacewalk, 2 Days to Mission
During a post-mission management briefing Monday, John Shannon, chair of the Mission Management Team, announced NASA will extend the mission two extra days and add a fourth spacewalk. The team extended the mission by two days and added a fourth EVA to provide time to repair the raised thermal blanket on the Orbital Maneuvering System pod.
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