Engineers attach and test solar panels to the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft, as it's readied for launch.


Hi, this is Amit Sen. I'm the JPL Aquarius project manager and I'll be periodically updating you as we go towards launch this June. We recently integrated, or put together, the solar panels of the spacecraft.

There are two panels on the spacecraft. The panels captures sunlight, converts them into electricity and charges the battery, which makes the observatory work. We put the spacecraft in a very horizontal position where we can work on them. Planks were placed around the spacecraft so that the people working on it are safe and tethered, and the spacecraft doesn't get harmed. So we gently place the panel and then we place the second panel. When we're in space there is no gravity, so we have to provide a mechanism to offload the gravity while we're testing here on Earth. After that, we manually deploy the panels so that it knows exactly where it is and how it is deployed properly. We then made the deployment through the spacecraft itself as it will do in space.

(Sound of deployment)


Once that was confirmed, we put some light on the panel to make sure the panels are alive and working.

A very critical operation that is needed for the spacecraft. This is Amit Sen and this has been an update as we take you closer and closer to our launch.
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