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Shuttle may stay in space extra day for station inspection

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 29, 2007
The US shuttle Discovery will likely stay in orbit a day longer than planned to give astronauts time to examine a mechanical glitch on the International Space Station, NASA said Monday.

NASA plans to prolong the fourth space walk of the mission scheduled for Thursday, a change that would force the shuttle to stay in space 24 extra hours, ISS program manager Mike Suffredini told reporters.

A longer space walk on Thursday, which would last at least six and half hours, would force NASA to delay the mission's fifth space walk by 24 hours since procedures call for a full day break after a long excursion.

"So don't be surprised if ... we formally announce that we will extend the flight one additional day," Suffredini said.

Discovery, which blasted off into space on October 23, would land back on Earth on November 7 if the mission is extended.

During Sunday's space walk, astronaut Daniel Tani discovered metal shavings and unusual wear on part of a joint used to rotate one of the station's set of power-generating solar panels, which was installed four months ago.

He grabbed samples of the metal shavings with adhesive tape to bring them back to Earth, where they will be analyzed by engineers who will look for the origin of the problem.

Suffredini said the problem would not affect a shuttle mission's delivery of Europe's Columbus laboratory in December.

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Discovery docks with International Space Station
Washington (AFP) Oct 25, 2007
The US shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station on Thursday for a complex construction mission to pave the way for the installation of European and Japanese laboratories.

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