No SpaceX Falcon Heavy Cargo safe as NASA announces Psyche Mission Delay

The launch of SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket to NASA was affected by a seven-week delay after spacecraft engineers discovered a software flaw 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 facility in late April. To this day, the Falcon Heavy is the first and only payload that has actually reached the Kennedy Space Center since mid-2019. At the time of its arrival, it was somewhat unclear when Falcon Heavy would finally end its three-year launch. interruption or what would be the payload (s) that would be above the rocket for the event.

Three weeks later, both are still unclear, but now for different reasons.

On May 23, Spaceflight Now reported that it had received a written statement from NASA confirming that Psyche’s launch had been delayed from August 1, 2022 to (NET) September 20, “after ground crews discovered a problem while tested the software on the spacecraft. ” Teams have spent the last few weeks combing Psyche and making sure it survived the flight with no problems. At an unknown time, engineers had to run the spacecraft’s computers for extensive diagnostic tests. It is also possible that a late build of Psyche’s flight software was analyzed externally before the final installation.

At least something went wrong. For now, NASA is just saying that “there is a problem that prevents confirmation that the software that controls the spacecraft is working as planned.” While it may seem software-centric, such a vague statement does not rule out the possibility of a hardware problem, which could help explain why NASA and the spacecraft team quickly chose to postpone Psyche’s launch by more than seven weeks.

For unknown reasons, each Falcon Heavy’s dense payload dropped significantly from its original launch target. Over the past few weeks, the USSF-44 – which is due to launch in June 2022 after many years of delay – “Postponed indefinitely.Delayed from Q3 2020, USSF-52 is now scheduled to be released in October 2022. Fisat-3, which was scheduled to be launched on Falcon Heavy in 2020, is now .NET September 2022. Jupiter-3, a Etisalat satellite, breaking record was first really confirmed as the launch contract for Falcon Heavy a few weeks ago and it has recently been rolled back from 2021 and 2022 to early 2023.

Only the USSF-67, whose official launch target has not been updated for more than a year, has said it is still about 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 still be far away. Meanwhile, Psyche’s delay on September 20 means it may now conflict with the ViaSat-3 Falcon Heavy’s mission, which will use the same launch pad. Most likely, ViaSat-3 will probably slip already in Q4, but the situation shows how the planning of painful launches of almost half a dozen chronically delayed payloads should be for SpaceX.

Meanwhile, SpaceX also needs to store and maintain it nine More Falcon Heavy boosters as they have to wait a long time for their assigned missions. SpaceX’s entire fleet of operational Falcon 9s – including a Falcon Heavy booster that functions like a Falcon 9 so far – contains 12 boosters, meaning more than 40% of all Falcon boosters are currently heavy.

No SpaceX Falcon Heavy Cargo safe as NASA announces Psyche Mission Delay

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