The group behind NASA’s Lucy asteroid mission is resuming work with the spacecraft to completely deploy and lock down its second photo voltaic array after a latest profitable flyby of Earth.
Lucy led the first of three deliberate flybys of the Earth on October 16, precisely one yr after its launch. Now the spacecraft has resumed high-speed communication with Earth and works properly in area, based on a November 18 NASA replace.
The group additionally resumed making an attempt to finish the deployment of its 24-foot-wide (7-meter) photo voltaic arrays, as one of many two failed to completely deploy and latch inside days of launch.
Associated: Be taught in regards to the asteroids that NASA’s Lucy spacecraft will go to
The spacecraft was tasked to level to the Solar and ignite its community deployment engines for a brief interval on Nov. 7, based on the NASA launch. The operation noticed the array unfold a bit extra absolutely, however the array nonetheless did not lock in, so the photo voltaic wing nonetheless appears to be like like a pie with a bit of slice lacking.
In accordance with NASA’s replace, evaluation of the operation revealed a small vibration because the unlocked array interacted with the spacecraft’s perspective controller that maintains the spacecraft’s place; this vibration had not occurred throughout a earlier deployment try in June. The group has decided that the vibration is just too minor to pose a threat to the spacecraft, however is refraining from additional deployment makes an attempt whereas the perspective controller is up to date.
The group don’t consider the board downside poses a menace to the 12-year-old tour of 9 asteroidshowever having the array absolutely deployed and locked down would increase confidence within the spacecraft’s efficiency, the assertion mentioned.
Lucy’s science payloads practiced throughout latest Earth flyby – together with capturing enchanting footage from the moon – and have been discovered to work as anticipated. The gravity help maneuver additionally proved to be a superb time to check the spacecraft’s mission methods and procedures, based on the discharge.
The spacecraft is predicted to make use of a second Earth flyby in 2024 to achieve sufficient velocity to go to a handful of orbiting Trojan asteroids at Lagrange Level 4, forward. Jupiter in its orbit across the solar. After that, a remaining flyby of Earth in 2030 will throw Lucy to some Trojans lagging behind Jupiter at Lagrange level 5.
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