rufey writes "This week there have been two pieces of bad news from the International Space Station. First was the discovery of metal shavings inside a problematic rotary joint used to keep one set of solar panels in the optimal position for power generation. At the close of a subsequent spacewalk, after it was relocated to its permanent location, the unfurling of the 4B solar panel resulted in it tearing in two places. A spacewalk is now planned for November 4th to attempt to fix the tear. The upcoming spacewalk is not without risks, including the remote possibility of electrocution since it is impossible to stop the solar panel from generating electricity during the repair attempt. NASA says the ripped wing needs to be fixed or the solar rotary joint problem solved before any more shuttles can fly to the space station and continue construction. With a hard deadline of 2010 for Shuttle retirement, NASA does not have much wiggle room in the schedule in order to finish ISS construction."
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