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Cygnus successfully berthed at ISS

Cygnus approaching ISS on November 9, 2022

Despite on of its two solar panels only partly deployed, astronaut Nicole Mann was able to use the robot arm on ISS to grab Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus freighter and bring it into its port, where ground engineers successfully berthed it.

The image to the right is a screen capture from NASA TV as Cygnus approached. You can see the problematic panel at the bottom. Though it has folded out from its initial stored position, it has not opened up fully.

The freighter will stay docked to ISS until late January, during which the crew will unload about four tons of cargo and then fill it with garbage before sending it to burn up over the ocean. We should expect NASA and Northrop Grumman to also plan a spacewalk to not only inspect the panel to figure out what failed, but to see if it can still be deployed.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


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Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Curious if there are any contingencies for a spacewalk to evaluate, and possibly fix, the problem. I would be a little surprised if NASA hasn’t at least entertained the idea for these situation. You have crew, you have suits. As this blog has pointed out many times, the primary advantage of people on site is the flexibility to handle unplanned-for events.

  • Gealon

    Well they did fix one of Skylab’s solar panels back in the 70’s. And they did have someone outside poking the ISS’s panels with a stick a few years back. Perhaps this won’t require quite so much innovations as a tree trimmer on a pole (in the case of Skylab) or a stick. A bit of wiggling and or tugging on the stuck leaf might be all that’s needed to free it.

  • Star Bird

    When can we start building our first Star Base and start work on USS Star Gazer

  • It occurs that a spacecraft docking at a private station with the same problem, might present an income opportunity.

    “Hey, we’ll have a look at it, for [some money]. If we can fix it, that’ll be [more money].

  • Gealon

    “It was an over-worked, under-powered vessel, always on the verge of flying apart at the seams. In every measurable sense, my Enterprise is far superior. But there are times where I would do almost anything to command the Stargazer again.”

  • pzatchok

    If they are just going to throw the thing away why not make it modular?
    That way it can be broke down in space and salvaged. Engines and tanks come off, solar panels come off, The can can then be strapped to the outside of the station and just thrown back to earth later. Or stack two or three cans together and only use one engine assembly to send it back to Earth to burn up.

    And why have two solar panels that fold out. Just mount one flat to the side and use more batteries. Seriously just how much power do these things need?

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