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3/18/2009
02:16 PM
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Shuttle Delivers Solar Arrays To Space Station

After a delay, Discovery lifts off on a mission to deliver power source to the space station.

NASA has begun to install a new power source for the International Space Station.

The space station's mobile transporter and robotic arm are expected to take more than six hours to move a 45-foot-long, 31,000-pound truss segment Wednesday to install and activate a power-generating system with solar arrays. The system will supply about one-fourth of the power needs of the station, six crew members and a variety of scientific experiments.

The Shuttle Discovery crew lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center Sunday to deliver the power-generating wings, bring new crew to the space station's rotation, and replace a purification system that turns urine into potable water. The shuttle's 13-day mission will feature three spacewalks to help install the S6 truss on the right side of the station.

Discovery's launch was postponed last week because of a gas leak in the shuttle's fueling and ventilation system. Technicians rebuilt the fuel lines and replaced seals and other components.

The shuttle docked on Monday when NASA inspected its heat shield for damage from the launch, around the time that NASA also determined that a piece of space junk was not likely to collide with the space station or Discovery. NASA said there are no signs of major damage, but it plans to continue reviewing images just to be sure.

NASA provides continuous television and Internet coverage of Discovery's mission, the 125th shuttle flight and the 36th for Discovery. It marks the 28th shuttle visit to the station. Russia will launch its Soyuz mission to the ISS on March 26.


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