The Cygnus photo voltaic mass can’t be positioned
WASHINGTON — NASA is weighing whether or not it’s secure for the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft to method the Worldwide Area Station after one among two photo voltaic arrays did not deploy hours after its Nov. 7 launch.
The Cygnus spacecraft, flying the NG-18 mission for NASA, was scheduled to deploy its two round UltraFlex photo voltaic arrays about three hours later. launch from Virginia on an Antares rocket. The arrays produce 3.5 kilowatts of energy for the spacecraft.
Nevertheless, NASA stated in an announcement launched greater than six hours after launch that solely one of many two photo voltaic arrays had been deployed. “Northrop Grumman is gathering knowledge on the deployment of the second array and is working intently with NASA,” the company stated.
In accordance with a NASA assertion, Northrop stated Cygnus has sufficient energy to rendezvous with the station as scheduled early Nov. 9, permitting the station’s robotic arm to seize and deploy it. NASA stated it was “evaluating” the knowledge.
“It had a mass that did not deploy, so Northrop Grumman is engaged on that proper now to deploy it, and naturally we’re evaluating seize and deployment if it would not deploy,” stated Dina Contella, operations integration. NASA’s ISS supervisor throughout a pre-scheduled briefing Nov. 7 about upcoming spacewalks on the station.
He famous that the array goes by levels of deployment. “The group is making an attempt to judge the information they’ve and work out their subsequent steps,” he stated, with Northrop main the hassle.
If the array isn’t positioned earlier than Cygnus arrives on the ISS, Contella stated the station program will need to higher perceive the state of the array earlier than persevering with with the seize. “If it finally ends up partially deployed, it could possibly transfer on a maintain or dock, or it could possibly open,” he stated. “These are the sorts of assessments and danger assessments that we are going to do if mandatory because it will get nearer.”
He added that it is doable Cygnus may orbit the station if wanted to spend extra time learning the photo voltaic mass drawback, although the specifics of extending that rely upon what method NASA and Northrop take. have determined to carry. “I am fairly hopeful we’ll deploy the opposite array.”
Whereas photo voltaic arrays have been routinely deployed on earlier Cygnus missions, a bigger model of the arrays had an issue with NASA’s Lucy asteroid mission, which launched in October 2021. One of many two round arrays failed to completely deploy and lock into place shortly after launch. Engineers spent months studying the problem and made several efforts to fully deploy the array, which made some progress however failed to shut the array. In June, NASA stated that whereas not absolutely deployed, the array is secure and can generate sufficient energy for the spacecraft.