Astronauts Find Station Damage

Metal shavings plague solar panel rotators
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2007 3:17 PM CDT
In this image provided by NASA Saturday Oct. 27, 2007 a portion of the International Space Station was photographed by one of the STS-120 crew members as the Space Shuttle Discovery approached the orbital...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The International Space Station’s power system is damaged, astronauts discovered today on the second of five scheduled spacewalks. Investigating the vibrations and electrical spikes that have wracked the solar tower, they found metal shavings clinging to the rotating joint. "There’s metal-to-metal scraping, and it’s widespread," said an astronaut, and the NY Times says it could delay upcoming missions.

It’s the first dark spot on a mission that’s gone smoothly. In today’s 6½ hour spacewalk, astronauts disconnected a 35,000-pound solar tower strut, allowing the station’s robot arm to move it elsewhere, and did some work on the Harmony capsule. Eventually, the Harmony will link new EU and Japanese labs to the station.