March 21, 2009 |
Astronauts unfurled the newly installed solar wings at the International Space Station on Friday, a nerve-racking procedure that brought the orbiting outpost to full power. To NASA's relief, both wings went out smoothly, one at a time. Nothing hung up, and none of the panels stuck together like they had on previous panels. The wings stretch more than 240 feet and are the final pair of electricity-generating wings that should boost science research at the station. The work was a highlight of shuttle Discovery's mission.
November 25, 2008 |
Astronauts successfully carried out one last spacewalk, finishing an unprecedented clean and lube job that they began a week ago at the International Space Station. Spacewalker Stephen Bowen wrapped up work on a jammed solar-wing rotary joint as partner Shane Kimbrough squirted extra grease as a precaution on another joint. NASA added a 16th day to space shuttle Endeavour's mission. Managers wanted to give the astronauts more time to fix a machine that's supposed to turn urine into drinking water.
November 29, 2008 |
Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of seven departed the International Space Station on Friday, ending a 12-day visit that left the orbiting complex with more modern living quarters for bigger crews. Endeavour pulled away as the two spacecraft soared 220 miles above the Pacific, just east of Taiwan. "Thanks for the incredible makeover and leaving the station in fantastic shape," space station skipper Mike Fincke radioed the shuttle crew. Endeavour backed up and completed a lap around the space station, for picture-taking.
June 12, 2008 |
Discovery's astronauts inspected their ship's wings and nose for any signs of damage after bidding "sayonara" to the International Space Station and heading for home. Shuttle commander Mark Kelly and his crew pulled out Discovery's 100-foot inspection pole and began running its laser sensors over the wings and nose cap, particularly vulnerable areas during reentry. A gashed wing brought down shuttle Columbia in 2003, killing everyone aboard. Images were beamed down to engineers at Cape Canaveral for review.
March 15, 2008 |
Astronauts got power flowing to the International Space Station's new robot, overcoming a problem that had threatened to disrupt shuttle Endeavour's construction mission. Working from inside, the astronauts used the space station's mechanical arm to grab and energize the sleeping giant, named Dextre, which had been dormant outside the orbiting complex for nearly two days. Electricity quickly began streaming to the robot's joints and electronics, to everyone's relief. "Good news from the flight control room," Mission Control announced in Houston.
March 16, 2008 |
A pair of space shuttle astronauts floated outside the International Space Station late Saturday to assemble a mechanical maintenance man while crewmates set up equipment inside the first piece of Japan's newly arrived space laboratory. Veteran astronaut Richard Linnehan and rookie partner Michael Foreman left the station's airlock to begin the second of five spacewalks planned during the Endeavour's 16-day spaceflight. "Wow, what an awesome view," said Foreman, making his first spacewalk more than 200 miles over China.