Spacewalking astronauts installed the last set of solar wings at the international space station, accomplishing the top job of shuttle Discovery’s mission.
Steven Swanson and Richard Arnold II struggled with some cable connections, but managed to hook everything up.
“It wasn’t quite as smooth as we had hoped, but those guys did a great job,” astronaut Joseph Acaba told Mission Control on Thursday.
The next milestone will be on Friday, when the folded-up solar wings are unfurled.
Manpower was needed inside and out to attach the $300 million segment to the space station. Swanson and Arnold helped their colleagues inside the shuttle-space station complex cautiously move the 14,000-kilogram, 14-meter-long girder into position with a robotic arm.
“Keep coming,” one of the spacewalkers said. “It really looks good to me.”
The actual attachment occurred an hour into the spacewalk, and the hookups were completed two hours later.
Discovery delivered the new wings earlier this week. It’s the final of solar wings to be installed at the 10-year-old space station and will bring it to full power. It’s also the last major American-made piece of the space station.