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Over the weekend, engineers on the ground remotely operated the International Space Station’s robotic arm to remove the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) from the trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo vehicle.

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Here, you see the experimental solar array unfurl as the station orbits Earth. Solar panels are an efficient way to power satellites, but they are delicate and large, and must be unfolded when a satellite arrives in orbit. The Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) is a new type of solar panel that rolls open in space like a party favor and is more compact than current rigid panel designs. ROSA is 20% lighter and 4x smaller in volume than rigid panel arrays! This experiment will remain attached to the robotic arm over seven days to test the effectiveness of the advanced, flexible solar array that rolls out like a tape measure. During this time, we will also measure power produced by the array and monitor how the technology handles retraction. Credit: NASA
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