The SS Sally’s Tower docked safely with the International Space Station after a harrowing journey in which one of its two solar arrays failed to deploy.
Northrop Grumman’s expendable freighter launched Monday, Nov. 7, carrying 8,200 pounds of cargo to the ISS. En route to the orbiting space station, however, the Cygnus capsule failed to deploy one of its two solar panels, which collects energy for its journey through space. “Northrop Grumman is collecting data on the second array deployment and working closely with NASA,” the space agency said. wrote in a blog post on Monday.
Despite only having one fully deployed solar array, the Cygnus spacecraft arrived safely at the ISS at 5:20 a.m. ET on Wednesday, according to a NASA report. blog post. As the cargo capsule approached the station, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grab the vehicle and maneuver it to the docking port of the station. This is standard procedure to capture Cygnus and not the result of the solar panel anomaly.
The 55-foot-long (17-meter) Canadaarm features a “hand” that astronauts use to grasp objects and even the ISS itself. After Mann commanded the robotic arm from inside the ISS, ground controllers took over to guide the capsule and dock it to the station’s Unity module, NASA wrote.
The reason for the malfunction has not yet been revealed. “To stay focused on the spacecraft’s arrival at the station, Northrop Grumman and NASA made the decision not to deploy the second solar array after initial deployment attempts failed.said the space agency.
This is Northrop Grumman’s 18th resupply mission to the ISS under its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA, in which it is delivering crew supplies, equipment and scientific experiments at the orbital station. The NG-18 Cygnus spacecraft was named after Sally Ridethe first American woman to achieve space, a feat she accomplished in 1983.
The cargo capsule delivered a diversity payload which includes a 3D printer to generate human tissue, an experiment on growing plants in space, and the first satellite developed by Uganda and Zimbabwe. The freighter will remain attached to the ISS until fired release into the earth’s atmosphere in January.
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