Lucy’s Solar-Powered Journey Continues – Transcript
NASA’s Lucy mission is heading to the Jupiter Trojans – two swarms of unexplored asteroids trapped in Jupiter’s orbit.
Because Lucy will venture further from the Sun than any previous solar-powered spacecraft…
it is equipped with two expansive solar arrays to carry out its deep space journey.
[Rocket launch audio]
Liftoff! Atlas V takes flight, sending Lucy to uncover the fossils of our solar system.
In the early morning hours of October 16, 2021, Lucy rose above Cape Canaveral in a picture-perfect launch.
But when the spacecraft began to unfurl its solar arrays, it encountered an anomaly.
One of the arrays failed to fully deploy and latch shut, putting the mission at risk.
Lucy’s cameras are not pointed at the spacecraft, so the flight operations team could not see what had happened.
Instead, they had to work with spare equipment on the ground, computer models, and data from Lucy…
to piece together the puzzle and determine the best path forward.
After months of analysis and testing, the team sent the spacecraft a series of carefully developed commands to further deploy the array…
stabilizing it sufficiently for the mission to proceed.
[Music & engine audio]
Now Lucy can continue its journey…setting course for a darker region of space, powered by the distant Sun.