NASA Investigating Potential Problem With Its Lucy Spacecraft

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NASA says its engineers are presently investigating a possible challenge with its Lucy spacecraft the place considered one of its photo voltaic arrays could have didn’t lock into place.
Lucy launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Saturday, October 16.
The spacecraft is heading towards Jupiter to check the Trojan asteroids in an formidable mission that scientists hope will inform us extra in regards to the formation of our photo voltaic system billions of years in the past.
However the area company has revealed that when Lucy deployed its 24-feet-wide photo voltaic arrays 90 minutes after launch and half-hour after separating from the rocket’s second stage, considered one of them could have didn’t lock into place.
In a message posted on its web site on Sunday, October 17, NASA stated that whereas Lucy seems to be “working nicely and is steady … indications are that the second array will not be totally latched.” Each arrays are, nevertheless, producing energy these days.
It stated that within the present spacecraft angle (the orientation of the spacecraft in area), Lucy can proceed to perform “with no menace to its well being and security.”
NASA confirmed that its group is now “analyzing spacecraft information to grasp the scenario and decide subsequent steps to attain full deployment of the photo voltaic array.” It declined to explain the potential penalties if it fails to safe the second array.
It’s clearly a regarding scenario, however Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA affiliate administrator for science, sounded a constructive be aware after listening to the information, tweeting: “This group has overcome many challenges already and I’m assured they may prevail right here as nicely.”
The spacecraft is presently touring at 67,000 mph on a trajectory that ought to see it orbit the solar and return it towards Earth in October subsequent yr for a gravity help to ship it on to its vacation spot.
Planning for the Lucy mission began in 2014. Assuming it overcomes the present challenge, it is going to be NASA’s first single-spacecraft mission to discover so many various asteroids — eight in all.
Discussing the difficult 12-year endeavor, the Lucy mission’s principal investigator, Hal Levison of the Southwest Analysis Institute, stated lately: “It’ll nonetheless be a number of years earlier than we get to the primary Trojan asteroid, however these objects are well worth the wait and all the hassle due to their immense scientific worth. They’re like diamonds within the sky.”
We’ll make sure you present an replace simply as quickly as NASA releases extra details about the present anomaly.

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