The International Space Station spread its new solar wings on Tuesday, boosting power generation capacity after astronauts of the US shuttle Atlantis wired them up during a space walk.
Television pictures broadcast by NASA showed the vast panels unfurling after they were put in place by the space station's robotic arm and connected by two space walkers on Monday.
The accordion-like installations, brought from Earth in the hold of Atlantis to the station hundreds of kilometers above the Earth, then finished their slow, delicate spreading on Tuesday at 1900GMT, the US space agency said.
They will boost the capacity of the station to generate power so it can host new modules from Europe and Japan.
The next foray outside the station was to be held yesterday.
Mission specialists Patrick Forrester and Steven Swanson were due to step out yesterday at 1803GMT on the second of the mission's four space walks.
During a scheduled outing of six-and-a-half hours, the astronauts plan to fold up another, older solar array to allow the new array to rotate and catch a maximum of sunshine for electricity production. The older array is to be installed on a different part of the station on a future shuttle mission.
NASA said on Monday that it would add two days to the mission to allow astronauts to repair a thermal blanket on the vessel's exterior, which was slightly damaged by the extreme air pressure of blasting through Earth's atmosphere.
Astronauts may use a sewing kit normally reserved for space-suits to repair the 10cm-by-15cm peeled-back section, which is over an engine pod near the spacecraft's tail, NASA managers said.
No final decision has been made on when the repair will be made or what repair technique will be used.
Engineers have looked at using duct tape or other adhesives to secure the blanket, but are leaning toward a method which would use stainless steel wire as thread and an instrument with a rounded end resembling a small darning needle.
"Duct tape doesn't work in the vacuum of space," John Shannon, the mission management team's chairman, said on Tuesday.
NASA engineers planned to try out the different method in heat and wind tunnel tests.
The thermal blankets are used to protect the shuttle from searing heat during re-entry. Engineers do not think the intense heat could burn through the graphite structure underneath it and jeopardize the spacecraft.
But it could damage the shuttle, requiring post-landing repairs that could delay the three flights to the space station that NASA has scheduled for the remainder of the year.
"This is the right thing to do," commander Rick Sturckow said from space on Tuesday night.
The rest of the shuttle appeared to be in fine shape, NASA said.
Shannon said an investigation has started into how the blanket was secured before launch.
Two sensors on the shuttle wing's leading edge had detected what seemed to be an impact by space debris, but engineers don't believe anything actually hit the spacecraft's wing. The highly sensitive sensors have been known to register "ghost" detections in the past from other causes.
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single