Unpredictable mission. Disabled cargo spacecraft docked at ISS
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For two whole days, the Cygnus cargo ship flew in space to the ISS using only one solar panel.
On November 9, the Cygnus cargo ship, which was created by the American company Northrop Grumman, successfully docked to the orbital station. But before that, during his two-day flight, he used only one working solar panel, writes CNN.
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The Cygnus cargo ship was launched into space by the Antares launch vehicle on November 7th. On board this spacecraft was a record 4.1 tons of various materials for conducting scientific experiments on the ISS, as well as fresh vegetables and fruits for astronauts and other supplies. But hours after the cargo ship separated from the booster, one of its solar panels failed to deploy.
According to a NASA statement, engineers on Earth initially tried to fix the problem, but these attempts were unsuccessful. Therefore, the ground crews directed all their efforts to ensure that the spacecraft successfully docked with the ISS.
The statement said that Cygnus would be able to fly to the station on only one working solar panel and this energy would be enough for him to fly. Why the deployment of the solar panel did not happen is not yet known.
After 2 days of its journey in space, the cargo ship approached the orbital station while the ISS was over the Indian Ocean. US astronaut Nicole Mann used a robotic arm to grab Cygnus and pull him to the docking airlock.
This cargo ship has been delivering equipment and supplies to the ISS for many years and has already completed 18 flights. It is worth noting that this cargo spacecraft is not reusable and, like the Russian Progress, after completing the mission, it is sent back into the atmosphere, where it burns out. For example, SpaceX's Dragon “truck” is reusable because it returns to Earth intact.
Each time, a new Cygnus cargo ship is given a distinctive name. During this flight, he bore the name of Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel in space.
According to NASA, several tons of important materials brought to the ISS by Cygnus are needed to conduct more than 250 scientific experiments. By the way, in addition to the usual food, the astronauts also received Christmas treats. The cargo ship itself will remain on the ISS until January, after which it will disappear into the Earth's atmosphere.
By the way, unpleasant incidents have already occurred with the Cygnus space cargo ship. In 2014, the Antares launch vehicle exploded immediately after launch, and this explosion destroyed Cygnus as well. This led to the suspension of the flights of these ships into space for more than a year.
Focus already wrote that at the end of last month the ISS had to perform an evasive maneuver in order not to collide with fragments of the Russian reconnaissance satellite “Kosmos 1408”.