Cygnus Mission on Track Despite One Solar Panel Failing to Deploy

Northrop Grummans’s Cygnus space freighter, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured Feb. 21, 2022, approaching the International Space Station carrying 8,300 pounds of new science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware to replenish the Expedition 66 crew. (Credits: NASA)

Officials say that a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship has sufficient power to rendezvous with the International Space Station despite the failure of one of its two solar panels.

“Northrop Grumman has reported to NASA that Cygnus has sufficient power to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Wednesday, Nov. 9, to complete its primary mission, and NASA is assessing this and the configuration required for capture and berthing,” NASA said in a mission update. “After launching earlier today, Nov. 7, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft has successfully deployed one of its two solar arrays. Northrop Grumman is gathering data on the second array deployment and is working closely with NASA.”

Cygnus NG-18, known as the S.S. Sally Ride, was launched early Monday morning aboard an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. It is carrying supplies and equipment to the seven astronauts aboard the space station.