May 28, 2023

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No SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload safe as NASA Psyche mission announces delay

No SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload safe as NASA Psyche mission announces delay

The first launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy for NASA was delayed by seven weeks after spacecraft engineers discovered a software anomaly during initial processing.

Named after the strange metallic asteroid designed to explore it, NASA’s Psyche spacecraft completed its journey from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center launch facilities in late April. To this day, the Falcon Heavy is the first and only payload to actually reach the Kennedy Space Center since mid-2019. At the time of its arrival, it was somewhat unclear when the Falcon Heavy would finally end its three-year launch hiatus or what the payload(s) would be. that will be above the rocket for the event.

Three weeks later, the two are still not clear, but now for different reasons.

On May 23, Spaceflight Now reported that it had received a written statement from NASA confirming that the Psyche launch was delayed from August 1, 2022, to no later than (NET) September 20 “after ground teams discovered a problem while testing the software on the spacecraft.” After the arrival of The spacecraft to the payload handling facility at the Kennedy Space Center, teams have spent the past few weeks combing Psyche and making sure it survived the flight without a problem. At an unknown point, the engineers needed to run the spacecraft’s computers for extensive diagnostic testing. It is also possible that a late build of Psyche’s flight software was analyzed externally prior to the final installation.

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Either way, something went wrong. For now, all NASA wants to say is that “there is a problem that prevents confirmation that the software that controls the spacecraft is working as planned.” Although it appears to be software-centric, such a vague statement fails to rule out the possibility of a hardware problem, which could help explain why NASA and the spacecraft team quickly chose to delay Psyche’s launch by more than seven weeks.

For unknown reasons, each Falcon Heavy’s close-range payload slipped significantly from its original launch target. Over the past few weeks, the USSF-44—which was supposed to launch in June 2022 after years of delays—”Indefinitely delayed.Delayed from Q3 2020, USSF-52 Now scheduled to be released October 2022. Fisat-3, which was supposed to launch on the Falcon Heavy in 2020, is now .NET September 2022. Jupiter-3, a Etisalat satellite breaks record It wasn’t actually confirmed as the launch contract for the Falcon Heavy until a few weeks ago, and it recently rolled back from 2021 and 2022 to early 2023.

Only the USSF-67, whose official launch target has not been updated in over a year, is It said It’s still on its way to launch somewhere within the original launch window (H2 2022). If it were actually launched without delay on a Falcon Heavy rocket in November 2022, it would be quite a long way off. Meanwhile, Psyche’s September 20 delay means it may now conflict with Falcon Heavy’s ViaSat-3 mission, which must use the same launcher. Most likely, the ViaSat-3 was already likely to slip into Q4, but the situation shows how scheduling painful launches of nearly half a dozen chronically delayed payloads should be for SpaceX.

Meanwhile, SpaceX must also store and maintain it nine Various Falcon Heavy boosters as they have to keep waiting for their assigned missions for a long time. SpaceX’s entire fleet of operational Falcon 9s – including one Falcon Heavy booster provisionally operating as a Falcon 9 – contains 12 boosters, meaning that more than 40% of all Falcon boosters are currently heavyweight.

No SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload safe as NASA Psyche mission announces delay