NASA’s Lucy Stable in Cruise Mode – Problematic Solar Array Is 75% to 95% Deployed

Lucy Spacecraft Deployment

Lucy will explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids – thought to be “fossils of planet formation.” Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

The Lucy spacecraft remains in cruise mode, which is the standard flight mode for outbound flight and allows for substantial autonomy for the spacecraft. The spacecraft has successfully executed several small planned maneuvers, which have had no adverse effect on the one solar array that is not fully deployed. On October 29, NASA will adjust Lucy’s position to point toward Earth in preparation for instrument checkout.

Most recently, the spacecraft’s position was adjusted on October 26 to allow the team to measure how much electric current is moving through the partially deployed solar array and thus understand how close that array is to the fully latched position. Analysis indicates that the array is between 75% and 95% deployed. It is currently being held in place by a lanyard, specifically designed to help unfurl the arrays during deployment.

An anomaly response team continues to work on establishing what caused the solar array to not fully deploy. NASA and SwRI are evaluating a range of options, including the possibility of leaving the array in its current state. Any attempt to safely redeploy the array would occur no earlier than Nov. 16.

All other systems are functioning normally.

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