Status Report

International Space Station’s P3/P4 Solar Arrays Deploying

By SpaceRef Editor
June 12, 2007
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International Space Station’s P3/P4 Solar Arrays Deploying

Image: The forward array of the space station’s new solar array wings waits to be fully unfurled. Image credit: NASA TV

The International Space Station’s new solar arrays are stretching to their full length with the assistance of the STS-117 and Expedition 15 crews. The array is on the Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment that was attached to the station Monday.

Today’s deployment activities began about 11:43 a.m. EDT. The first array that will be deployed to its length of 115 feet is on the forward-facing side of the S3/S4. After the forward array is deployed, the process will repeat for the rear-facing array.

The STS-117 crew will get a few hours of off duty time this afternoon before they begin 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. Wednesday’s spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 2:03 p.m.

The P6 will move from its current location atop the station to the end of the Port 5 truss during a future 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. A decision about whether that job will be done on EVA 3 or EVA 4 is expected today.

SpaceRef staff editor.