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NASA Astronauts Spacewalk to Shattered Solar Panel

NASA gave the official green light for astronauts aboard the International Space Station for conducting a spacewalk to repair a damaged panel which helps supply power to the orbiting outpost. The ripped-torn solar panel requires wielding the reliable contacts to fix the solar battery.

Astronauts Scott Parazynski and Douglas Wheelock plan to use the space station’s robotic arm to help fix the damage. NASA expresses the spacewalk to be very dangerous with potential risk of electrical shocks.

While the solar array is generating independent electricity at 97 percent capacity, it can’t be unfurled completely. Parazynski will wield needle-nose pliers, wire cutters and a spatula in an bold attempt to free a stuck solar panel. A section became snagged and ripped earlier this week when the accordion-like sheet was unfurled.

Parazynski, 46, will make the restorations while standing at the bitter end of a boom attached to the station’s robotic arm, measuring almost 60 feet long. He must avoid touching the effective panels with his suit or the metal tools during the 7 hour spacewalk, as they could transmit electricity from the solar array.

The spacewalk was necessary to repair the solar panel as the trouble could get worse with increasing damage. The panel was torn when a guide wire became hung up on one of the long hinges that join the fanfold panels of the array.