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Cygnus space cargo spacecraft arrives at International Space Station with only half of its solar array

NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, backed up by NASA astronaut Josh Casada, uses the International Space Station on November 9, 2022 at 5:20 AM ET. The Canadaarm2 robotic arm captures Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft.

Mission Control in Houston will direct the robotic arm to rotate Cygnus to its mounting orientation and then direct it to the Earth-facing port of the space station’s Unity module.

The spacecraft was able to successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) despite deploying only one of its two solar panels.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space cargo spacecraft was connected to the International Space Station on Feb. 27 after delivering 8,300 pounds of new science experiments, crew supplies and station hardware to replenish the Expedition 66 crew. Source: NASA

On Monday, Nov. 7, the Cygnus spacecraft was launched at 5:32 a.m. by a Northrop-Grumman Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. After successfully reaching orbit, it can only deploy one of its two solar panels. NASA and Northrop-Grumman, after initial unsuccessful attempts to deploy a second solar array, decided not to deploy the battery in order to remain focused on the spacecraft’s arrival at the International Space Station, where the Cygnus cargo spacecraft is on its way He successfully arrived after completing four rendezvous and burning on the way.

With just a single solar array, Cygnus still has enough power to rendezvous with the space station on Wednesday, November 9. Northrop Grumman is working closely with NASA to monitor and evaluate the spacecraft ahead of its planned arrival, capture and installation on the space station tomorrow. The mission team also plans to conduct additional inspections of the cargo craft after approach and capture.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space cargo spacecraft, with its protruding cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar array, was photographed as it approached the International Space Station on Feb. 21, carrying 8,300 pounds of new science experiments, crew Supplies and space station hardware to supplement the needs of the Expedition 66 crew. Source: NASA

This is Northrop Grumman’s 18th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft delivers 8,200 pounds of scientific investigation materials and other cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft was named S.S. Sally Ride in honor of the late NASA astronaut, physicist and the first American woman to fly in space.

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