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Solar Array Cell

Mission: Hubble Space Telescope  
Launch: April 24, 1990
STS-31 / Discovery
 
Landing: December 13, 1993 (solar array)
STS-61 / Endeavour
 
Duration: 3 years, 7 months, 19 days  
Comment: A second array was jettisoned when it couldn't
be fully retracted due to kink in the framework.

This solar cell was cut from the array that powered the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for its first three years of operation. The European Space Agency (ESA) provided HST's deployable solar arrays as part of their partnership with NASA. When Endeavour's crew was launched to service and repair HST in 1993, topping their task list was the replacement of the arrays. Excessive flexing, caused by the extreme changes between cold darkness and warm daylight, was thought to be compromising their structural integrity. After studying the array for the effects of long duration exposure to space, ESA cut samples of the solar cells and embedded them within lucite for presentation to VIPs and program participants.

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