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Space station spreads its wings

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Space station spreads its wings


The International Space Station is spreading its solar wings, working at maximum power for the first time in its life. The latest equipment carried up by the shuttle Discovery finally allows the ISS to make use of its huge solar panels to generate electricity from the sun. The extra power, enough for about 40 normal homes on Earth, will let the ISS double its crew, to six, and carry out the full range of experiments its designers envisaged.

Astronauts Steven Swanson and Richard Arnold spent six hours in space getting the panels ready. The ISS has been under construction high above the Earth for more than a decade. It has racked up bills of about 100 billion euros, but is on track to be fully-operational by next year.
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