Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news about fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.
A cargo spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station on Wednesday morning, despite having made its two-day space trek with only one functioning solar panel.
US defense contractor Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, which was carrying 8,200 pounds of science experiments and supplies for astronauts aboard the ISS, lifted off from the NASA launch site at Wallops Island, in Virginia, atop an Antares rocket on Monday.
Hours after Cygnus reached orbit and separated from the rocket, one of the spacecraft’s two solar arrays failed to deploy, NASA said.
Teams on the ground initially tried to fix the problem, hoping to open the solar panel, but they were unsuccessful, according to a NASA statement released Tuesday. NASA and Northrop Grumman, who designed and built the Cygnus capsule, chose to abandon those efforts to focus on achieving a safe rendezvous with the ISS, noting that the spacecraft already had enough power to complete his journey. Northrop Grumman did not immediately respond to a request for additional information Tuesday evening.
“The Cygnus team is gathering information on why the second array did not deploy as planned,” NASA said Tuesday. Noted.
The docking took place at 5:20 a.m. ET Wednesday morning as the ISS flew over the Indian Ocean.
As the Cygnus capsule approached the ISS, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann used the space station’s robotic arm to latch onto the vehicle and glide it back to its docking port.
Orbital ATK, an aerospace and defense company acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2017, was selected in 2014 alongside Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop vehicles capable of delivering cargo to the ISS. The Cygnus spacecraft has been performing routine cargo missions to the ISS for years and has 18 successful missions to its credit.
He also recorded a failure. In 2014, the Antares rocket, also developed by Orbital ATK, exploded shortly after liftoff, destroying the spacecraft and crippling the Cygnus program for more than a year.
The Cygnus capsule used for this week’s mission was named SS Sally Ride, a nod to the first American woman to fly in space. NASA said the resupply capsule “will remain at the space station until January before departing for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.”
The cargo aboard this mission includes supplies that will support more than 250 science experiments and other research efforts, according to NASA. It also carries fresh fruits and vegetables for the crew, as well as holiday treats.
#Cargo #spacecraft #docks #ISS #failed #solar #array #deployment #CNN #Business