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Torn panel may delay next shuttle

Nation in Brief / FLORIDA

October 31, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

A giant solar wing ripped as it was being unfurled by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, NASA officials said at Cape Canaveral.

The next shuttle flight could be delayed if the problem isn't resolved quickly, the officials said. Atlantis is supposed to lift off in early December with a European laboratory.

The astronauts immediately halted the wing extension when they spotted the damage. By then, the solar panel was extended 90 feet, out of 115 feet. The torn wing can still provide power. NASA's bigger concern is the structural problem posed by a partly deployed panel.

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