WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

NASA asteroid mission on hold due to late software delivery

NASA asteroid mission suspended due to late software delivery

Technicians work on the Psyche spacecraft at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, April 11, 2022, in Pasadena, California. NASA put an asteroid mission on hold on Friday, June 24, 2022, blaming the late delivery of its own navigation software. The Psyche mission to a strange metallic asteroid of the same name was set to launch in September or October. But the agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab was several months late in writing and delivering the navigation, guidance and control software. Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

NASA postponed an asteroid mission Friday, blaming the late delivery of its own navigation software.

The Psyche mission to a strange metallic asteroid of the same name was set to launch in September or October. But the agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab was several months late in delivering its navigation, guidance and control software — a critical part of any spacecraft. Engineers “just ran out of time” to test it, officials said Friday.

Now the space agency is going to step back, and an independent review will look at what went wrong, when the spacecraft could relaunch and even whether it should go ahead, NASA chief of planetary sciences Lori Glaze said.

NASA has already spent $717 million on Psyche, and the projected total cost, including the rocket to launch it, is $985 million. The small car-sized spacecraft was originally set to arrive at its asteroid in 2026 after traveling more than 1 billion miles.

Now that the software has been delivered, there are no known problems with the spacecraft, other than “we just haven’t been able to test it,” said Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the chief scientist on the Psyche mission.

“There’s that one challenge we couldn’t overcome in time to launch with confidence in 2022,” she said.






There are at least two more launch options next year and more in 2024 to reach the asteroid located in the belt between Mars and Jupiter, said JPL director Laurie Leshin. That means Psyche wouldn’t arrive at his asteroid until 2029 or 2030.

But calculating launch times is complicated because the mission needs the right sunlight conditions, and the asteroid “spins like a rotisserie chicken rather than a top,” Elkins-Tanton said.

Two other small missions would ride on the heavy SpaceX Falcon rocket and NASA is looking at what will happen to it.

Psyche is just the latest in NASA’s fleet of asteroid-exploring spacecraft. Osiris-Rex is on his way back to Earth with debris from the asteroid Bennu. Last year, NASA launched the ships Lucy and Dart to explore other space rocks and test whether a rocket could deflect an asteroid headed for Earth.


NASA’s Psyche Spacecraft Begins Processing at Kennedy Space Center


© 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Quote: NASA asteroid mission suspended due to late software delivery (2022, June 25) retrieved June 25, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-nasa-asteroid-mission-due-late.html

This document is copyrighted. Other than fair dealing for personal study or research, nothing may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More