On April 18, NASA determined to maneuver ahead with plans to finish the deployment of the Lucy spacecraft’s stalled, unlatched photo voltaic array. The spacecraft is powered by two massive arrays of photo voltaic cells that have been designed to unfold and latch into place after launch. One of the fan-like arrays opened as deliberate, however the different stopped simply wanting finishing this operation.
Through a mixture of rigorous in-flight photo voltaic array characterization and floor testing, Lucy engineers decided the unlatched photo voltaic array is almost absolutely open, positioned at roughly 345 out of the complete 360 levels, and is producing ample power for the spacecraft. Nonetheless, the group is worried about potential harm to the array if the spacecraft conducts a major engine burn in its current configuration.
After launch, the arrays have been opened by a small motor that reels in a lanyard hooked up to each ends of the folded photo voltaic array. The group estimates that 20 to 40 inches of this lanyard (out of roughly 290 inches whole) stays to be retracted for the open array to latch.
The photo voltaic array was designed with each a main and a backup motor winding to offer an added layer of reliability for the mission-critical photo voltaic array deployment. Lucy engineers will benefit from this redundancy by utilizing each motors concurrently to generate greater torque than was used on the day of launch. Ground assessments present that this added torque could also be sufficient to drag the snarled lanyard the remaining distance wanted to latch.
The group is now getting ready to finish the photo voltaic array deployment in two steps. The first step, tentatively scheduled for the week of May 9, is meant to drag in a lot of the remaining lanyard and confirm that flight outcomes are in keeping with floor testing. This step can even strengthen the array by bringing it nearer to a completely tensioned state. Because this step is designed to be restricted in period, the array shouldn’t be more likely to latch at that time.
If this step goes as deliberate, the second step will proceed the array deployment with the intent to totally latch. Information gleaned from the primary half will assist fine-tune the second. The second step is at the moment deliberate for a month after the preliminary one, giving engineers sufficient time to research the info seen within the first try.
NASA’s Lucy mission is a ‘go’ for photo voltaic array deployment try (2022, April 21)
retrieved 21 April 2022
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