March 9, 2009

2nd Brightest Object in the Night Sky

The second brightest object in the night sky is, for the most part, Venus... but once the forth and final set of solar array wrings are added to the International Space Station on March 11th, the ISS will take over that honor and will be second only to the moon.

The Space Shuttle Discovery is set to deliver the power-generating solar panels and Starboard 6 (S6) truss segment to the ISS on the 125th mission in the Shuttle program, known as STS-119/15A (slated for launch on March 11, 2009 at 9:20 p.m. Eastern). This final piece of the Station's backbone will bring the ISS to its full length of 102 metres (roughly the size of a Canadian football field), and will increase the quantity of electricity available for science experiments by 50%. This additional power also means that the Station will be closer to being ready to house a crew of 6 astronauts instead of the current 3.

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