SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
*Spacewalkers Fold Solar Array*
The STS-116 crew folded the port solar array on the International Space Station’s P6 truss during the mission's fourth spacewalk. The 6-hour, 38 minute excursion by Mission Specialists Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang concluded at 8:38 p.m. EST.
Curbeam and Fuglesang freed up the array for retraction with several techniques -- pulling guide wires, flipping grommets, and pushing panel hinges. The spacewalkers also shook the solar array panel. The final bay was folded about 6:54 p.m. EST.
One of the guide wires looped out of the proper configuration during the folding process and the spacewalkers tightened it before commands were sent to latch the arrays.
Another objective of today’s spacewalk, which was STS-116’s fourth, was to collect information that could prove useful when the opposite side of the array is retracted during the STS-117 mission in March.
The start of the spacewalk at 2 p.m. was a historic moment for Curbeam, who became the first astronaut to conduct four spacewalks during a single mission. This was Fuglesang’s third. Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams conducted one.
Pilot Bill Oefelein coordinated the spacewalk activities. Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham and Williams were at the controls of the station’s robot arm, Canadarm2.
Attention now turns to Discovery’s departure. Discovery is scheduled to undock at 5:09 p.m. Tuesday, ending STS-116’s eight-day stay at the station.
For the latest news and information on the International Space Station and the Expedition 14 crew, please visit the main station page. + Read more http://www.nasa.gov/station