Astronauts repair torn solar panel

Nov. 3, 2007 at 2:00 PM

HOUSTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Two NASA astronauts successfully repaired a torn solar panel during a risky space walk Saturday outside the orbiting international space station.

Veteran space walker Scott Parazynski, 45, and rookie Doug Wheelock, 47, spent several hours repairing damage done Tuesday when the panel unfolded to about 90 feet and then stopped, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Parazynski, who has flown on five previous shuttle missions, rode the end of a robotic arm, attached to it with makeshift foot braces, to repair two tears halfway up a 110-foot-long solar panel, said a statement from NASA. Wheelock, on his first space mission, has teamed with Parazynski for two space walks during the past eight days.

NASA is working on a plan for repairs another time to fix an identical solar power panel on the opposite side of the space station. That panel is unable to rotate because metal grit has entered its operating mechanism, the Chronicle said.

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