CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A Northrop Grumman capsule delivered several tons of supplies to the International Space Station on Wednesday despite a jammed solar panel.
The shipment arrived two days after launching from Virginia. Only one of the cargo ship’s two round solar panels opened following liftoff. Flight controllers tried in vain to open the stuck panel, but managed to draw enough power for the flight with just one.
As the capsule made its slow approach, the space station crew took pictures so engineers might understand what went wrong. NASA astronaut Nicole Mann then used the station's robot arm to grab the spacecraft, dubbed the S.S. Sally Ride in honor of America's first woman in space.
A company vice president, Cyrus Dhalla, later said a piece of debris from the Antares rocket became lodged in one of the solar panel's mechanisms during liftoff and prevented its release.
Among the 8,200 pounds (3,700 kilograms) of supplies: brackets needed for a spacewalk next week to expand the station's power, as well as apples, blueberries, cheese, peanut butter and ice cream for the station's U.S., Russian and Japanese crew of seven.
Northrop Grumman is one of two companies that deliver cargo for NASA. The other is SpaceX, which will launch a shipment later this month.
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