A Cygnus spacecraft docks at the Space Station with a single solar panel


An unmanned Cygnus spacecraft with supplies successfully docked on November 9 at the International Space Station despite covering a two-day trip and several orbits with only one of its two solar panels deployed.

Despite the lack of power supply from the second panel, NASA-contracted Northrop Grumman cargo spacecraft completed four rendezvous burns on its way to the International Space Station. To stay focused on the spacecraft’s arrival at the station, Northrop Grumman and NASA determined not to deploy the second solar panel. after initial attempts to deploy it were unsuccessful. The Cygnus team is collecting information on why the second array was not implemented as planned.

At 09:20 UTC, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann captured Cygnus using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. The image shows how only one of the solar panels is deployed upon arrival at the orbital complex. The freighter was then guided for installation into the Earth-facing port of the station’s Unity module, reports NASA.

The mission, which took off on November 7 on an Antares rocket from the base of Wallops (Virginia), carries more than 3.6 tons of scientific cargo, crew supplies, and vehicle hardware to the orbiting laboratory and its crew. The CRS-18 Cygnus spacecraft is named after the first American woman in space, Sally Ride.