Risky Spacewalk Juices Up ISS

7-hour mission on solar wing improves power supply
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2008 12:57 PM CST
In this image from NASA Television International Space Station commander Peggy Whitson is seen during a space walk Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/NASA TV)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – US astronauts pulled off a risky repair mission on the International Space Station’s troubled solar wing today, the AP reports. The possibility of electrical shock made the 7-hour spacewalk dangerous, forcing the team to wait until the station was on the dark side of the planet. “Yee-haw! Excellent,” cried Commander Peggy Whitson as much-needed electricity surged through the station.

The job was performed entirely in the dark of night, with Whitson and Daniel Tani pausing when the station orbited through daylight to avoid the 160 volts then coursing through the machinery. The station’s power troubles aren’t over, however; the solar wing’s clogged rotary joint is still an issue, and could take up to four spacewalks to fix.