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June 28, 2011
Eager to speed into space, the STS-97 crew hurries out of the Operations and Checkout Building for the ride to Launch Pad 39B. Leading the way are Pilot Michael Bloomfield (left) and Commander Brent Jett (right). In the middle is Mission Specialist Marc Garneau (waving), who is with the Canadian Space Agency. Behind are Mission Specialists Carlos Noriega (left, waving) and Joseph Tanner. Mission STS-97 is the sixth construction flight to the International Space Station. It is transporting the P6 Integrated Truss Structure that comprises Solar Array Wing-3 and the Integrated Electronic Assembly, to be installed on the Space Station. The solar arrays are mounted on a blanket that can be folded like an accordion for delivery. Once in orbit, astronauts will deploy the blankets to their full size. The 11-day mission includes two spacewalks to complete the solar array connections. The Station's electrical power system will use eight photovoltaic solar arrays, each 112 feet long by 39 feet wide, to convert sunlight to electricity. Gimbals will be used to rotate the arrays so that they will face the Sun to provide maximum power to the Space Station. Launch is scheduled for Nov. 30 at 10:06 p.m. EST.

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