NASA has temporarily stopped attempts to deploy the solar array of the Lucy probe

NASA experts have stopped trying to fully deploy the solar array of the Lucy probe. This is stated in a message published on the mission’s blog.

The solar array of the Lucy probe is in the undeployed state. Source: Lockheed Martin

The Lucy spacecraft receives energy from two round solar arrays with a diameter of 7.3 meters, with a total surface area of over 80 m². During the launch, they were in a folded state, their deployment began after the probe went into space and was carried out according to the fan principle.

Unfortunately, one of the solar arrays of the spacecraft failed to fully open. This was due to the loss of tension in the cable used for its deployment. After analyzing the situation, the mission specialists decided to try to deploy the undisclosed segment.

The first series of operations to open the array was carried out in May – June 2022. It ended with partial success. The engineers managed to bring the degree of disclosure of the photovoltaic panel to 98% and increase its overall structural stability.

The next attempts to deploy the array were made after Lucy performed a successful flyby of the Earth in October 2022. This time the engineers made minimal progress. Mission specialists explained this by the fact that Lucy moved away from the Sun, while the greatest success was achieved when the body of the spacecraft was heated to a higher temperature. Based on this, the mission management decided, at least for a while, to abandon attempts to open the array. They can be continued in December 2024, when the probe will again approach the Earth.

According to https://blogs.nasa.gov

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