Monday, June 04, 2007

Shuttle launch on June 8th

The upcoming Shuttle mission starting on Friday evening is a big construction project on the ISS, to move and add a large solar array to the station. The ISS currently looks a little lopsided; here's an image from December 2006:

Here's an artist's rendition of the planned work; you can see the second pair of solar arrays added. They are removing the odd array on the top; one thing I couldn't tell from the press release was whether they are storing it up there and redeploying it at a later date or bringing it back; the full ISS would have eight solar panels on each side.

I picked this image up from the STS-117 Press Kit


Benjamin said...

When you say, "bring it back," are you wondering whether the solar array will be removed from the ISS and brought back to Earth? I wouldn't think that's terribly likely - you'd have to pay to launch it again, after all, and NASA's been hesitant to bring the shuttle back "heavy" since the Columbia accident. I'm sure they'll find someplace to stick it in the meantime, even if they have to stick it where the sun don't shine. Uh, I mean, maybe behind the hab modules or something.

Dean W. Armstrong said...

Well, I wasn't sure if rather, they were going to replace the solar array with a new one, as the old ones age from radiation and atomic oxygen damage. At $367 million for the new array, obviously, they would probably store it up there and reuse it.