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Lucy team schedules attempt to complete solar panel deployment

Lucy solar panel graphic
Artist’s impression of solar panel

After months of discussions, the engineering team of the Lucy asteroid probe have now scheduled the week of May 9th as when they will begin their attempt to complete the deployment of the spacecraft’ partly opened solar panel.

The team is now preparing to complete the solar array deployment in two steps. The first step, tentatively scheduled for the week of May 9, is intended to pull in most of the remaining lanyard and verify that flight results are consistent with ground testing. This step will also strengthen the array by bringing it closer to a fully tensioned state. Because this step is designed to be limited in duration, the array is not likely to latch at that point.

If this step goes as planned, the second step will continue the array deployment with the intent to fully latch. Information gleaned from the first part will help fine-tune the second. The second step is currently planned for a month after the initial one, giving engineers enough time to analyze the data seen in the first attempt.

When launched in October 2021 one of Lucy’s two large solar panels did not completely open and latch, as shown above. Though the spacecraft is presently getting 90% of its expected power, the scientists want to get the panel fully open and latched to insure it will function as planned once the spacecraft gets out to the asteroid belt, where sunlight is dimmer.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 

The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

One comment

  • Lee S

    While I truly hope that this operation goes according to plan, we all do, but a loss of 10% expected power generated should be well within error margins… Does the faulty deployment have anything else to do with mission operations ?

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