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NASA astronaut puts together ripped solar energy panel on ISS

RIA Novosti

03/11/2007 18:44 WASHINGTON, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski has put a homemade brace on a torn wing of the solar panel, the main electricity generating device on the International Space Station (ISS), a NASA spokeswoman said.

Parazynski has thereby completed the first part of this dangerous spacewalk, she said, adding that he was watching the panel unfold to make sure it does not get damaged again.

Another astronaut, Douglas Wheelock, who accompanied Parazynski in the spacewalk, is helping coordinate his work and other astronauts' manipulations inside the ISS.

The damage was spotted on Sunday, when astronauts noticed some metallic grit on the device turning the batteries to track the sun for power.

Initially, the current STS-120 Discovery mission, launched on October 23 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, was to deliver docking ports for European and Japanese laboratories. However, as NASA cannot add any modules to the orbiting outpost until the damaged power wing is fixed, the focus of the mission has been drastically redefined.

Discovery is scheduled to land at the Florida Kennedy Space Center next Wednesday.

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