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Astronauts Rewire Station, Fourth Spacewalk Approved

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2006

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The STS-116 crew completed the rewiring of the International Space Station's power system during the mission's third spacewalk. Astronauts Robert Curbeam and Sunita Williams also relocated debris shield panels, attached a grapple fixture and performed a test on the partially retracted solar array before concluding the excursion at 9:56 p.m. EST.

Curbeam and Williams rerouted power through station electrical channels 1 and 4. Curbeam and STS-116 Mission Specialist Christer Fuglesang rerouted power through channels 2 and 3 during the mission's second spacewalk Thursday. The electrical work puts the station's power system in a permanent setup and sets the stage for the addition of more solar arrays.

In order for the duo to perform the electrical work, flight controllers powered down station systems prior to the start of the spacewalk. They began repowering those systems at 4:18 p.m.

Curbeam and Williams then installed a robotic arm grapple fixture and relocated debris shield panels from the station's interior to a storage point outside. The panels are designed to increase the protection of the station's living quarters module and will be installed during a later spacewalk by the station crew.

With time remaining, flight controllers elected to have the duo conduct a test on the P6 solar array that has not retracted properly. The spacewalkers shook the box into which the array is folding to ease tension in apparently misaligned guide wires. There were additional attempts to retract the array.

The spacewalkers also collected several tools from outside and took them into the station in preparation for a fourth STS-116 spacewalk, which will be devoted to retracting the solar array. The spacewalk will occur on Monday.

STS-116 Pilot Bill Oefelein coordinated spacewalk activities and Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham operated the station's robotic arm.

In other activities on Space Shuttle Discovery and the station, the two crews continue cargo transfers. The crew members will start winding down transfers Sunday.

The STS-116 crew is scheduled to wrap up their stay at the station when Discovery undocks on Tuesday Dec. 19.

For the latest news and information on the International Space Station and the Expedition 14 crew, please visit the main station page.

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