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NASA solved the problem of the Lucy spacecraft remotely with a clever trick

BingMag.com <b>NASA</b> <b>solved</b> the <b>problem</b> of the <b>Lucy</b> <b>spacecraft</b> <b>remotely</b> with a <b>clever</b> trick

The special team assigned by NASA to fix the problem of the Lucy spacecraft, finally succeeded with a clever trick to open the solar array and allow the probe to continue. prepare a mission.

Last year, NASA launched the Lucy probe, which is designed to search for Trojan asteroids near Jupiter's Lagrangian points.

However, only 12 hours after launch, something went wrong and one of the spacecraft's large solar arrays, designed to generate electrical energy from sunlight at a much greater distance, did not fully deploy and could not be secured.

Now, according to NASA, the team of mission specialists, using several clever tricks, has been able to fix the problem enough to continue the mission.

In fact, hours after the problem was identified, NASA a The special team investigated the anomaly with members from the Southwest Research Institute, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the spacecraft's manufacturer, Northrop Grumman. brought together But because there are no cameras for the spacecraft's solar arrays, the special team had to find another way to find the problem.

To that end, they turned on the spacecraft's thrusters to measure any unusual vibrations, and a They performed detailed modeling of the defective solar array motor assembly to determine its rigidity. With this trick, they eventually discovered that a rope designed to open the array was probably stuck on its pulley.

So the team quickly came up with two potential solutions. One was to use the array as is, since it still produces 90% of the expected power. Another method was to use the launch motor to support the deployment of the array as well as the main motor to pull the strap tighter and allow it to twist more and engage the locking mechanism.

But on the other hand, both motors They are not designed to work simultaneously, so the troubleshooting team modeled the operation on the ground to test possible outcomes and possible effects. After months of simulation, they decided to go ahead with the two-engine option on the Lucy spacecraft. In this way, they activated both the main and support engines of the solar array deployment seven times at the same time and finally managed to open and stretch the array further. NASA said about this success: "Unfortunately, the rope was not long enough "It wasn't stretched to lock the array, but it's now under much more tension and is stable enough for the spacecraft to meet mission objectives." According to the US space agency, the spacecraft is now ready and can until it completes its next planned step and accelerates using Earth's gravity in October 2022 (1401 Mehr). This probe is supposed to reach its first asteroid target in 2025.

  • Exploring the fossils of the solar system with the Lucy spacecraft

Cover photo: The state of Lucy's solar arrays after the deployment command
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab


Source: Engadget

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