ISS Expedition 16 Mission Updates: Part 1

Astronauts to Repair Solar Wing Motor in Wednesday Spacewalk
Expedition 16 flight engineer Dan Tani (left) and commander Peggy Whitson discuss their planned Jan. 30, 2008 spacewalk to replace a broken solar array joint motor outside the International Space Station.
(Image: © NASA TV.)

ISS Crew Prepares forFifth Spacewalk
29 January 2008 2:29 p.m. EST

International Space Station(ISS) commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani are gearing up forthe fifthspacewalk outside the orbiting laboratory in an effort to bring the outpostone step closer to full power.

Whitson and Tani willreplace a broken joint motor for one of the station's two starboard solar wingsduring the planned six-hour spacewalk, which is slated to begin no later than5:30 a.m. EST (1030 GMT) on Jan. 30.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's preview of the spacewalk.

NASA will provide livecoverage of Expedition 16's fifth spacewalk on NASA TV beginning at 4:00 a.m.EST (0900 GMT). Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upperleft of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Russian Space FreighterTakes Firm Hold of ISS
26 December 2007 3:28 a.m. EST

After a successful docking,the unmanned Russian cargo ship Progress 27 has taken a firm hold of theInternational Space Station (ISS).

A series of hooks andlatches were driven into place to secure the automated supply ship to its berthat the station's Earth-facing Pirs docking port. The cargo ship docked at 3:14a.m. EST (0814 GMT) bringing about 2.5 tons of fresh supplies and some gifts tothe outpost's three-person crew.

A wrap up of today's ISSdocking will be posted to the SPACE.com homepage.

-- Tariq Malik

Russian Cargo Ship Docksat ISS
26 December 2007 3:18 a.m. EST

The unmanned Russian cargoship Progress 27 has successfully docked at the International Space Station(ISS), bringing about 2.5 tons of fresh supplies and some gifts to theoutpost's three-person crew.

Docking occurred earlierthan planned at 3:14 a.m. EST (0814 GMT) as both spacecraft flew high over southernEurope.

"Everything isnominal," said Expedition 16 cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who watched overthe cargo ship's docking. "Okay, we feel the contact."

A series of hooks andlatches will secure the spacecraft to the ISS. Hatches between Progress 27 andthe ISS are slated to be open at about 6:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT).

NASA is providing livecoverage of Expedition 16's Progress 27 docking on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Russian Cargo Ship onFinal ISS Approach
26 December 2007 3:13 a.m. EST

The unmanned Russian cargoship Progress 27 is on final approach to the International Space Station, whereit is less than 50 meters and closing slowly toward a berth at the Pirs dockingcompartment.

Docking is set for 3:25a.m. EST (0825 GMT).  All is going well with today's planned docking.

NASA is providing livecoverage of Expedition 16's Progress 27 docking on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Unmanned Cargo Ship toDock at ISS
26 December 2007 3:00 a.m. EST

The unmanned Russian cargoship Progress 27 is bearing down on the International Space Station (ISS) for aplanned 3:25 a.m. EST (0825 GMT) docking later today.

Packed with about 2.5 tonsof supplies, the resupply ship launched spaceward early Sunday on a three-daytrek toward the ISS. The cargo ship is ferrying fresh fruit, vegetables,equipment and other much-needed items to the station's Expedition 16 crew.

It also carries Christmasand birthday gifts for station astronauts. Expedition 16 flight engineer andcosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko is expected to be ready to take remote control ofthe Progress 27 spacecraft should its automatic docking systems fail.

NASA is providing livecoverage of Expedition 16's Progress 27 docking on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkers

Spacewalk EndsOutside Space Station
18 December 2007 12:08 p.m. EST

Expedition 16 flightengineer Yuri Malenchenko radioed the official stop time for his crewmates'spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacewalk, the 100thoutside the ISS, concluded at 11:46 a.m. EST (1646 GMT) as Expedition 16commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani repressurized thestation's Quest airlock.

Total spacewalking time: 6hours, 56 minutes.

Whitson and Tani inspecteda beta gimbal joint at the base of a starboard solar wing for signs of damage,then conducted the most in-depth inspection to date of a large, 10-foot(3-meter) wide gear that turns the station's starboard solar arrays like apaddlewheel to track the sun.

A wrap up of today'sspacewalk will be posted to the SPACE.com homepage shortly.

NASA will hold a pressbriefing to discuss today's spacewalk at about 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT).

NASA will provide livecoverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk wrap up briefing on NASA TV. Clickhere for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersRepressurize ISS Airlock
18 December 2007 11:59 a.m. EST

Expedition 16 commanderPeggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani are back inside the InternationalSpace Station's Quest airlock and repressurizing the compartment, marking theend of today's spacewalk inspection of two solar array-turning joints.

Repressurization beganwhile the station was outside of communications range for flight controllers onEarth. An official spacewalk end time and duration is expected shortly.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Astronauts to Wrapup Spacewalk at ISS
18 December 2007 11:31 a.m. EST

Expedition 16 commanderPeggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani are wrapping up today's spacewalkoutside the International Space Station (ISS) after successful inspections oftwo separate joints servicing the outpost's starboard solar arrays.

The astronauts are now wellinto their sixth hour of today's spacewalk, which began at 4:50 a.m. EST (0950GMT).

Whitson and Tani inspecteda beta gimbal joint at the base of one of the station's two starboard solarwings, then conducted an comprehensive survey of the metal particlecontamination of the station's starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint.

They are now returning tothe station's Quest airlock.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersReconnect ISS Solar Wing Joint Cables
18 December 2007 11:08 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani have returned to a beta gimbal joint at the base of a starboardsolar wing outside the International Space Station (ISS) to reconnect a pair ofpower cables.

Whitson disconnected thecables earlier in today's spacewalk as part of a troubleshooting effort as sheand Tani inspected the joint for signs of damage and debris. The joint sufferedtriple electrical failures on Dec. 8, prompting concerns that it was struck bya micrometeorite.

Tani and Whitson found nosigns of damage during their inspection.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersCollect Suspect ISS Joint Bearing
18 December 2007 10:47 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani have successfully pried a bearing known as Trundle Bearing 5 fromthe International Space Station's (ISS) Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, completingthe last major task of today's excursion.

They are due to reconnect apair of electrical cables for a beta gimbal joint at the base of one of thestation's two starboard solar wings before wrapping up today's spacewalk.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkers toRetrieve ISS Joint Bearing
18 December 2007 10:19 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani are retrieving a suspect trundle bearing that engineers believemay be the culprit behind the metallic grit contaminating the starboard SolarAlpha Rotary Joint outside the International Space Station (ISS).

Known as Trundle Bearing 5,the bearing has exhibited some signs via telemetry that it may be a potentialsource of the station's SARJ joint woes.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkingAstronauts Continue ISS Joint Inspection
18 December 2007 9:40 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani are continuing through their hours-long inspection of thestarboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) outside the International SpaceStation (ISS).

As they near the five-hourmark of today's spacewalk outside the ISS, the astronauts have found metallicparticles contaminating parts of the 10-foot (3-meter) wide joint everywherethey looked. The grit, however, appeared to be most concentrated near one ofthe SARJ gear's drive lock assembly motors and two trundle bearings inspectedearlier in the spacewalk.

Whitson and Tani have usedorange Kapton tape to collect samples and clean portions of the SARJ's metalrings. They have also used tools to measure the extent of damage to one of theSARJ's two race rings and tried scraping some of the debris free as well.

Engineers are closelywatching the spacewalk to help determine how best to repair the large ISS gear.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Spacewalk PassesFour-Hour Mark at ISS
18 December 2007 9:01 a.m. EST

Today's inspectionspacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) has passed thefour-hour mark as Expedition 16 astronauts Peggy Whitson and Dan Tani continuetheir in-depth look at the outpost's starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint.

The spacewalk began at 4:50a.m. EST (0950 GMT).  

After looking under severalof the joint's 22 thermal protective covers, the astronauts have foundconsistent evidence of contamination, but none as extensive as that which theysaw near a pair of trundle bearings and a large motor early in their spacewalk.

Like Whitson, Tani has lostsome strips of orange Kapton tape, which the spacewalkers are using to collectsamples of the metallic contamination.

"It looks like I'mcatching up to you Peggy," he said as the tape drifted away.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Space StationCommander Breaks Spacewalking Record
18 December 2007 8:37 a.m. EST

International Space Station(ISS) commander Peggy Whitson has broken the record for the most cumulativespacewalking time for a female astronaut.

At 8:27 a.m. EST (1327GMT), she surpassed the 29-hour and 17-minute benchmark set earlier this yearby NASA astronaut Sunita Williams.

"Congratulations,there is no pressure now because you are now queen of EVA," MissionControl told Whitson, using NASA's abbreviation for extravehicular activities,or spacewalks.

"It's just being inthe right place at the right time," Whitson replied.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersInspect ISS Joint, Sample Contamination
18 December 2007 8:12 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani continue their in-depth inspection of the International SpaceStation's (ISS) starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ).

In addition to removing aseries of thermal covers and peering at the 10-foot (2-meter) wide gear'sintricate internal mechanism, the spacewalkers have also collected samples ofmetallic grit that has contaminated the joint. So far, the contamination seemsto be widespread, with concentration varying at each location.

Whitson lost two strips ofthe orange Kapton tape during the collection process, but the tape seems to besomewhat effective to retrieve samples and clean the joint.

"I am getting almostall of the debris off," Whitson said as she dabbed one of the joint'smetal rings that is mottled with damage. "It seems less splotchy."

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersContinue Joint Inspection at ISS
18 December 2007 7:28 a.m. EST

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani are continuing their inspection of the large Solar Alpha RotaryJoint (SARJ) outside the International Space Station.

The spacewalkers haveremoved a second thermal cover to peer into different portions of the 10-foot(3-meter) wide gear, finding additional contamination of metallic grit andmetal ring damage.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

ISS SpacewalkersTaking Samples of Metallic Grit
18 December 2007 6:56 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani are now taking samples of the metallic grit inside theInternational Space Station's (ISS) large Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) asthey continue their inspection.

Earlier, the astronautsgave a detailed account of the metallic contamination in the SARJ, whichappeared to vary by location. One of the joints 12 trundle bearings, TrundleBearing 5, was initially thought to be the source of the damage, but containedless contamination that the nearby Trundle Bearing 6, they said.

Tani also spotted an odd"dance" of the metallic particles while inspecting one of the joint'smotors at work.

"You can see the motion of the gear because thedebris is kind of walking across the housing," said Tani, adding that themetal shavings appeared to walk end over end on the motor housing. "It'shilarious. It's animated, like they're alive. They're like ants."

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersInspect Large Solar Truss Joint
18 December 2007 6:33 a.m. EST

NASA astronauts PeggyWhitson and Dan Tani are well into their planned hours-longinspection of a 10-foot (3-meter) wide gear on the starboard side of theInternational Space Station (ISS).

The spacewalkers areworking at the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ), which is afflicted by metallicgrit, where they are currently inspecting one of two so-called Drive LockAssemblies that serve as motors to turn the massive joint.

Whitson and Tani arenearing the two-hour mark of today's spacewalk, which began at 4:50 a.m. EST(0950 GMT).

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkers BeginSecond Joint ISS Inspection
18 December 2007 6:00 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani have completed theirfirst joint inspection at the base of one of two solar arrays on thestarboard side of the International Space Station (ISS) and are now movingahead with an in-depth look at the outpost's Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ).

They found no apparentsigns of damage to a joint at the base of the station's 1A solar wing duringtheir first inspection. Whitson and Tani are now at the station's starboardSARJ joint, a massive, 10-foot (3-meter) wide gear that rotates the outpost'sright solar arrays to track the sun.

Tani found the joint to becontaminated with metallic grit during a late October spacewalk. He and Whitsonconfirmed the contamination during a November excursion.

During today's spacewalk,the astronauts to better gauge the extent of the damage and retrieve a suspecttrundle bearing.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersExamine ISS Solar Wing Joint
18 December 2007 5:39 a.m. EST

As spacewalkers PeggyWhitson and Dan Tani continuetheir joint inspection at the base of one of two solar arrays on thestarboard side of the International Space Station (ISS), Whitson will climbinside a nearby truss section to take a closer look at some hardware.

"This is going to be atight fit, Peg," said astronaut Joe Tanner, NASA's spacecraft communicatorin Mission Control. "It's been done before on the ground, but you're goingto be the first to do it in space."

"Does this suit makeme look fat?" joked Whitson, who like Tani is clad in a bulky NASAspacesuit.

Whitson will surpass thecurrent record for total spacewalking time by a female astronaut during today'sspacewalk. NASA astronaut Sunita Williams set the benchmark ? 29 hours and 17minutes ? earlier this year.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkers BeginInspection of First ISS Joint
18 December 2007 5:29 a.m. EST

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitsonand Dan Tani are inspecting the first of two joints that help keep thestarboard solar arrays of the International Space Station (ISS) pointed to facethe sun.

The spacewalkers are on thestation's Starboard 4 truss, where they are inspecting cables and otherequipment for a so-called beta gimbal joint. The joint supports the station's1A solar wing and suffered an electrical failure on Dec. 8. While power hasbeen restored to the wing, engineers hope to learn if its critical joint hassuffered any damage.

"Everything that I cansee is nominal," Tani said as he inspected the joint's cables. "Idon't see anything."

Whitson noticed a slightyellow discoloration on one of the cables, but no outright signs of damage.

"It lookspristine," she said.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Astronauts Begin100th Spacewalk Outside ISS
18 December 2007 5:00 a.m. EST

NASA astronauts PeggyWhitson and Dan Tani are preparing to step outside the International SpaceStation (ISS) today for up to seven hours of spacewalkingwork to inspect two joints on the outpost's starboard side.

The spacewalkers are aboutan hour ahead of schedule for their planned spacewalk, beginning today'sspacewalk at 4:50 a.m. EST (0950 GMT). They are about one hour and 10 minutesahead of schedule.

Tani will lead thespacewalk clad in a NASA spacesuit bearing broken stripes, with Whitson's suitbearing solid red stripes. During today's spacewalk, the astronauts willinspect a contaminated starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint and a beta gimbaljoint, both of which help orient the station's solar arrays toward the sun.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Space Station Crewto Perform Extra Spacewalk
12 December 2007 1:25 p.m. EST

NASA astronauts aboard theInternational Space Station (ISS) will stage an unplanned spacewalk next weekto inspect a balky solar array joint contaminated with metallic grit.

Expedition 16 commanderPeggy Whitson and fight engineer Dan Tani will step outside the orbitallaboratory at about 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT) on Dec. 18 to inspect thestation's starboard Solar Array Rotary Joint (SARJ). The 10-foot (3-meter) widejoint is designed to turn the station's starboard solar arrays to continuouslytrack the sun, but has been contaminated by metallic particles.

"During the spacewalk,the participants Whitson and Tani will do an inspection of the solar array rotaryjoint," said NASA commentator John Ira Petty, adding that mission managersofficially added the spacewalk to the Expedition 16 mission earlier today.

The astronauts and NASAspace station managers will discuss the details of the spacewalk during a seriesof briefings on Thursday to air live on NASA TV. The crew will discuss theirmission at 10:10 a.m. EST (1510 GMT), with ISS managers to follow at 2:00 p.m.EST (1900 GMT).

The spacewalk wasoriginally scheduled as an add-on chore for STS-122 astronauts aboard theshuttle Atlantis, but their mission's has been delayed until Jan. 2, 2008.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's fourth spacewalk on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Astronauts CompleteThird Spacewalk at ISS
24 November 2007 12:05 p.m. EST

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Dan Tani are repressurizingthe Quest airlock of the International Space Station (ISS), marking the end oftoday's spacewalk outside the orbital laboratory.

Total spacewalking time: 7 hours, 4 minutes.

The spacewalk ended at 11:54 a.m. EST (1654 GMT), after asuccessful orbital work session to wire up the station's new Harmony module.Whitson and Tani also inspected a balky solar array joint, routed cables for astation to shuttle power system and installed a floodlight outside the ISS.

A wrap up of today's spacewalk activities will be postedto the SPACE.com homepage.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's third spacewalk on NASA TV. Clickhere for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Spacewalkers Returnto ISS Airlock
24 November 2007 11:45 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitson and Dan Tani have returned tothe Quest airlock aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as they near theend of today's work outside the orbital laboratory.

The astronauts are nearing the end of almost seven hoursof orbital work to wire up the station's new Harmony node and inspect a balkystarboard solar array joint.

Today's spacewalk began at 4:50 a.m. EST (0950 GMT).

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's third spacewalk on NASA TV. Clickhere for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkerInstalls ISS Flood Light
24 November 2007 11:33 a.m. EST

Spacewalker Peggy Whitson is finishing up work to installa flood light outside the International Space Station (ISS), the final task plannedfor today's spacewalk.

She and crewmate Dan Tani are preparing to wrap up theirwork outside the station after beginning today's spacewalk at 4:50 a.m. EST(0950 GMT).

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's third spacewalk on NASA TV. Clickhere for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

Extra Tasks on Tapfor ISS Spacewalkers
24 November 2007 10:50 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitson and Dan Tani may have someextra chores on their orbital to-do list as they continue to work outside theInternational Space Station (ISS).

The astronauts will reinstall an exterior light to theouter hull of the ISS and relocate an ISS tool bag.

Tani installed an astronaut personal foot restraint (APFR)for a future spacewalker.

"If you stand in this APFR, you'll be like the hoodornament on the front of the station," Tani said.

Today's spacewalk has passed the six-hour mark. It beganat 4:50 a.m. EST (0950 GMT) and was slated to run about 6.5 hours.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's third spacewalk on NASA TV. Clickhere for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersPrepare to Wrap up ISS Work
24 November 2007 10:31 a.m. EST

Spacewalkers Peggy Whitson and Dan Tani are preparing towrap up today's spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS).

The two NASA astronauts began their orbital work at 4:50a.m. EST (0950 GMT) and completed all of their major tasks. They installedcooling, heater and power lines for the station's new Harmony node, completedwiring for the station's power transfer system to U.S. space shuttles andinspected a balky solar wing joint on the station's starboard side.

NASA is providing live coverage of Expedition 16's third spacewalk on NASA TV. Clickhere for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at theupper left of this page.

-- Tariq Malik

SpacewalkersDescribe Damaged ISS Gear
24 November 2007 9:57 a.m. EST

Spacewalker Peggy Whitson has joined her crewmate Dan Taniat the starboard solar array gear, where they continue their inspection of themassive, 10-foot wide joint.

Tani has described what appears to be damage from metallicshavings, which he first discovered during a spacewalk late last month.

"There are shavings on the gear, but it doesn't looklike the gearing itself is damaged," Tani said.

He reported that a race ring making up part of the gearappeared to look as if its surface coating had been abraded.

"I don't see anything raised but it does look sandpapery," Tani said. "It looks more like abraded damage."

Whitson said the actual gear teeth of the joint appearundamaged.

"They all look great to me," she said.

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