Friday, March 20, 2009

Station's Last Solar Arrays Fully Deployed

The crews of the Discovery and international space station complex worked together today to unfurl the final set of solar arrays thus giving this beautiful orbital city a power boost to run more modules and experiments.

At different times during the midday hours EDT, the crews deployed one solar array after another. The 1B array deployment began at 11:06 am EDT and concluded at 11:52 am; then the 3B solar array began to unfurl at 12:35 pm.

Moments later, the Crews began to see a few of the wafer thin panels begin to stick together. So they stopped 3B's deployment and let the Sun warm them up a bit.

The solar arrays from end to end measure 240 feet in length. The new Starboard 6 solar array Truss has added 9,600 square feet of array surface area to the station, according to Mission Control today. There is now nearly an acre of solar array surface area on the space station.

On tap for Saturday will be the STS-119 mission's second spacewalk of Discovery's flight. Two of Discovery's astronauts will begin their orbital walk beginning at 12:43 pm EDT, and will have complete LIVE coverage all mission long.

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