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STS-115 Crew Unfurls Station Arrays

Press Release From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2006

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Image: The new forward solar array reaches the halfway point in deployment. Photo Credit: NASA TV

The STS-115 crew successfully completed the full deployment of the International Space Station's new set of solar arrays at 8:44 a.m. EDT.

The new arrays span a total of 240 feet and have a width of 38 feet. They are attached to the station's newest component, the P3/P4 integrated truss structure. The installation of the P3/P4, which occurred Tuesday, and the deployment of the arrays sets the stage for future expansion of the station.

Today's deployment occurred in stages to allow the arrays to warm up, which prevents them from sticking while being deployed. The first stage began about 6:27 a.m. EDT.

The deployment activities started later than planned due to a software problem with the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint. The Mission Control Center team developed a workaround and proceeded with the checkout and deployment activities.

In other activities today, STS-115 crewmembers will command the International Space Station's robot arm to move from the Mobile Base System to the Destiny Laboratory Module. The STS-115 and the Expedition 13 crews will prepare for Friday's spacewalk.

The STS-115 crew has conducted two spacewalks to prepare the truss and the arrays for operation. Friday's spacewalk will continue those efforts.

Also, Space Shuttle Atlantis and station crewmembers will take time out of their busy schedules to talk with reporters and officials. Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Steve MacLean is scheduled to talk with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at 11:25 a.m. STS-115 Commander Brent Jett, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Expedition 13 Astronaut Thomas Reiter are scheduled to talk with National Public Radio and CNN at 11:50 a.m. These events will be aired on NASA TV.

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