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Sci-Tech

See NASA jettison a stuck solar array into space

An experimental flexible solar array refuses to roll back up, so NASA sends it packing from the International Space Station.

On June 18, NASA tested out a new flexible solar array by rolling it out like Gene Simmons' tongue from the end of a mechanical arm attached to the International Space Station. Everything went well until NASA tried to roll it back up and tuck it away. It wouldn't go, so the ISS Mission Management Team made the decision to jettison the array. NASA released a surprisingly calm video showing the procedure on Monday.

The aptly named Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) went through a week-long test in space to see how it reacts to the harsh conditions in orbit. 

The camera catches the array standing out against the cloudy backdrop of Earth. It releases and gently floats away. We get to follow the array as it gains distance from the space station. All we need is for someone to add an epic soaring soundtrack to its touching departure video.

NASA already had the jettison procedure in its back pocket in case it wasn't able to roll up the array as intended. "ROSA will not present any risk to the International Space Station and will not impact any upcoming visiting vehicle traffic," the space agency notes.