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NASA’s Lucy spacecraft may have a solar array problem

18 Oct 2021, 18:30 UTC
NASA’s Lucy spacecraft may have a solar array problem
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An illustration of the Lucy spacecraft near one of Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. Credit: NASA
In an update, NASA said one of the two circular solar arrays on the Lucy spacecraft bound for Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids may not have fully latched during deployment.
Lucy successfully launched into space Oct. 16, 2021, atop an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space For Station in Florida. After the spacecraft separated from the rocket’s upper stage, it began deploying its two 24-foot (7.3-meter) diameter circular solar arrays, which together have a surface area of about 550 square feet (51 square meters).
The Lucy spacecraft launched atop an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider
“Lucy’s two solar arrays have deployed, and both are producing power and the battery is charging,” the agency said in a blog post. “While one of the arrays has latched, indications are that the second array may not be fully latched.”
The large array size is necessary as the spacecraft will be operating as far as about 484 million miles (778 million kilometers) from the Sun during its 12-year mission and can ...

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