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Image taken during the spacewalk  (Source: NASA)
The 100th spacewalk was successfully completed to investigate a problematic joint

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) conducted a scheduled spacewalk to inspect a pair of solar array joints that have been troublesome since a problem was found in late October.  The walk was monitored by observers on the ground, and flight engineers will now begin to investigate what steps need to be taken to correct the issue. 

The seven-hour spacewalk was carried out by Peggy Whitson, ISS commander, and Daniel Tani, a flight engineer, and helped focused solely on the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ). The spacewalkers took photos and documented what they saw, then collected samples using a metal scraper and some tape.

During an inspection of the shuttle Atlantis fuel tank at Cape Canaveral, flight engineers believe a bad connector is the cause of the shuttle fuel gauges acting oddly.  After filling the external fuel tank with 500,000 pounds of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, one of the sensors failed and two others temporarily worked.

"We had a problem today on three of those sensors and we captured the data indicating that we have a problem at the ... connectors that lead the wires from the inside of the liquid hydrogen tank to the exterior of the tank," said Wayne Hale, shuttle program manager.

After two failed launch attempts, Atlantis is scheduled to launch on January 2, assuming NASA is able to correct the problem with the shuttle already secured to the launch pad.

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the connector issue
By kattanna on 12/20/2007 10:24:50 AM , Rating: 2
here is a quote about it from

in the 6th paragraph

Similar glitches have plagued NASA since the agency resumed shuttle flights in 2005 following the Columbia accident, prompting mission manager to delay the STS-122 mission to no earlier than Jan. 10 to settle the glitch once and for all.

this makes me wonder just how long this "glitch" might have been around, or if this glitch was introduced with the redesigned tanks. also then makes me wonder how many other glitches we simply dont know about that happen and how often.

hopefully the new orion system design will be taking such experience into mind as they design the systems.

RE: the connector issue
By TSS on 12/20/2007 7:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
in the end we are all still human, even the scientists at NASA. people make mistakes every now and then. and even the smallest mistake (especially those) can slip through the thoroughest of tests.

we don't need to know every glitch. we just need to trust the engineers at NASA that they will find and squash the bugs before they can do anything bad.

and honestly, the first launch was in 1981, of the most complex machine ever built sent into the harshest environment we know and multiple times too none the less for nearing 27 years, and only 2 have blown up. considering all the harsh factors and the amount of rockets that have blown up in the past, not even considering that all of them weren't meant for re-usage, it's a pretty damn good track record.

orion will know it's glitches as well, just hope that their found and fixed before anything bad happens. they will though, it's not like it's rocket sc...... oh right.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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