Psyche Launch delayed due to software problems

The launch of the Psyche mission scheduled for August 1 will be postponed for at least seven weeks. This was reported by representatives of NASA. The reason for the delay was the problems identified during the testing of the device software.

New launch date for the Psyche mission

Psyche was delivered to Cape Canaveral on April 29. After that, the device was transported to a clean room and subjected to a series of final tests designed to certify its readiness for interplanetary flight. During them, engineers identified a software problem that forced the mission management to delay the launch. Now it will take place no earlier than September 20.

Psyche probe. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Currently, specialists are working on troubleshooting the device’s software. If this process is delayed, Psyche may miss its start window. It is worth noting that so far NASA representatives have not named the exact dates of both the current and the next launch window.

Psych Mission Flight Plan

A Falcon Heavy rocket will be used to launch Psyche. The current flight plan assumes that in May 2023, the spacecraft will carry out a gravitational maneuver in the vicinity of Mars, which will allow it to enter a permanent orbit around its main target, the asteroid Psyche (16 Psyche), in January 2026.

Psyche in the artist’s image. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

The surface of Psyche is characterized by a high content of metals (iron and nickel). It is believed that it may be a fragment of the core of a protoplanet that died at the dawn of the existence of the Solar System. Psyche will have to test this theory and establish the origin of the asteroid. To do this, the device is equipped with a set of four scientific instruments. The main mission of the probe is designed for 21 months of operation with the possibility of further extension.

Psyche will not be the only cargo on board the Falcon Heavy. With it, a pair of Janus probes will go into space, designed to study the binary asteroids (175706) 1996 FG3 and (35107) 1991 VH.

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