NASA's problems with the International Space Station's solar power wings multiplied on Tuesday after one panel ripped, threatening the structural integrity of the orbital outpost.
The 2.5-foot (75-cm) tear reduced the wings' energy output by just a fraction but until NASA can anchor the panels, managers will not proceed with plans to launch Europe's long-delayed Columbus laboratory on December 6, space station program manager Mike Suffredini said. (rushing to launch...again)
The problem surfaced at the end of an otherwise successful spacewalk by two shuttle Discovery astronauts to move a pair of the station's solar wing panels to the outermost end of the station's frame
'Otherwise successful'?...they found 'metal shavings' on their previous spacewalk.
"Managers previously deactivated automated operation of a second wing rotator after astronauts discovered metal shavings inside the joint."
To help stabilize the station, NASA locked the wings in place to prevent them from automatically tracking the sun for energy.
"I don't want to do any more damage to the array than what's already been done," Suffredini told reporters.
Rushing to launch does help. Don't forget about that pesky 'tiny cracks in the heat shield' I warned about on Oct 22nd, in the article titled, "NASA clears shuttle for Launch, but probably shouldn't". The problem continues to be 'neglected',
Nothing to worry about , though..NASA is on their 'business as usual' fix on the cheap,
Engineers were assessing which side of the station's troubled power system to attack first. NASA already canceled plans for a spacewalk to test a shuttle heat shield repair technique so astronauts could instead inspect the joint where metal shavings were found on Sunday.( not wise, those cracks should have kept the Shuttle grounded in the first place.)That work might now be postponed in favor of fixing the tear in one of the left-side solar panels.
"It's not a situation where anybody is particularly panicked," said Suffredini, adding that the fix might not be pretty.
"All we need is power. It doesn't have to look good," he said. Read the full article
Same Players. Different Scandal.