A ripped solar wing on the international space station has fouled NASA's spacewalk plans for the crew of its shuttle Discovery—and could send ripples through schedules for future shuttle missions and hinder station construction. Today's scheduled spacewalk has been canceled; one scheduled for Thursday to inspect a broken rotary joint was moved to Friday and will address the rip in the solar panel.
The need for repairs is urgent because until at least one of the solar panel malfunctions is fixed, the station cannot generate the power needed for the next set of expansions, such as a European lab due in December. The Discovery crew could face further extensions of its mission, including an additional spacewalk. "We'll be ready," the shuttle's commander said.