New DMSP satellite hits a snag

NOAA is reporting that although the spacecraft is operational and undergoing the normal post-launch testing as part of its commissioning phase, there is a bit of a snag: the solar array is only 70% deployed.  It’s not clear what impact this will have; if it will shorten the spacecraft’s life by reducing the total number of arrays in operation (which in turn makes it less tolerant of the normal degradation of solar arrays over time), if there is a chance of getting it fully deployed, or what.  But they have a crack team of engineers working on the problem, so it should be okay.  😉

In other news, the next three cargo vessels to the ISS are getting lined up.  The next Progress spacecraft is sitting on the pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome, ready to launch in a few hours, while SpaceX’s Dragon awaits clearance from the range to go next; it has to wait behind an NRO classified satellite first, as the NRO bird has dibs on the range.  And NASA has announced that the Cygnus flight scheduled for May will likely be delayed to mid-June due to the unforseen Dragon delay.  The ripples go out through the complicated dance of the ISS flight manifest.  😉

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