Astronaut fixes torn solar panel on space station

Risky procedure involves riding a robotic arm to the damaged area in order to install cufflinks on the torn wing.

An astronaut fixed a torn solar panel on the International Space Station on Saturday in a risky procedure that involved riding a robotic arm to the damaged area in order to install cufflinks on the torn wing, according to the Associated Press.

In an emergency mission, spacewalker Scott Parazynski rode the 90-foot robotic arm to the far end of the shuttle complex as the crew extended the wing to its full length. He then clipped a hinge wire and, guided by fellow spacewalker Douglas Wheelock, installed the cufflinks. The 2.5-foot-long rip had occurred while astronauts were unfurling the new array on Tuesday, but NASA officials weren't sure how the damage was incurred, Reuters said.

The International Space Station is a research facility that is in orbit 240 miles above the Earth's surface. The station uses the solar panels to generate its electricity by capturing sunlight and converting it into power.

Check out this CNET News.com gallery for more photos of the International Space Station and the ripped solar array.

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About the author

Desiree Everts DeNunzio is a freelance editor and writer. She's dabbled in digital media and technology for the past decade, including stints at CNET News and Wired magazine. When she's not fiddling with various gadgets, she spends her time running after chickens and her own brood.

 

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