Discovery Astronauts Spacewalk Underway

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (AP) -- The next step for spacewalking astronauts is to help a solar power tower spread its wings so it can collect the sun's rays to generate electricity for the international space station.

Starting early this morning, astronauts bolted the solar array to the station after moving it on a previous spacewalk.

Astronaut Scott Parazynski also inspected a properly functioning rotary joint on another array so NASA experts can compare it with a malfunctioning one.

The rotary joints make sure the huge solar panel wings are facing the sun. The problem mechanism was found to have black dust resembling metal shavings inside. The one that's working properly showed no signs of metal shavings.

NASA needs to get the new solar array up and the panels unfolded to prevent a delay of the addition of European and Japanese research lab missions early next year.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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