No SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload was safe as the NASA Psyche mission announced the delay

The launch of SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket for NASA was affected by a seven -week delay after spacecraft engineers discovered a software flaw in 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, Calif., To NASA’s Kennedy Space Center launch facility in late April. So far, the Falcon Heavy is the first and only payload to land at the Kennedy Space Center since mid-2019. At the time of its arrival, it’s unclear when the Falcon Heavy will end its abortion at launch. of three years or what will be the payload (s) on top of the rocket for the event.

Three weeks later, the two 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 was delayed from Aug. 1, 2022, until (NET) Sept. 20 at the latest “after ground crews discovered a problem from the spacecraft to the Payload Handling Facility at the Kennedy Space Center, the teams spent the last few weeks combing Psyche and making sure he survived the flight without issue.At some unknown time, engineers were required to run the spacecraft’s computers for extensive diagnostic testing.It is also possible that a final version of Psyche’s flight software was checked out before the final installation.

Either way, something went wrong. So far, all NASA wants to say is “there is an issue preventing confirmation that the software that controls the spacecraft is working as intended.” Although it appears to be software-centric, such a vague statement does not rule out the possibility of a hardware issue, which may help explain why NASA and the spacecraft team quickly chose to postpone the launch. of Psyché for seven weeks.

For no apparent reason, the short-range payload of each Falcon Heavy has been greatly reduced from its original launch target. Over the past few weeks, the USSF-44-which is due to launch in June 2022 after years of delays-“ Delayed indefinitely.Delayed from Q3 2020, the USSF-52 is now scheduled to release in October 2022. The Fisat-3, scheduled to launch at Falcon Heavy in 2020, is now .NET September 2022. Jupiter-3, a satellite of Etisalat has broken a record. was only confirmed as the Falcon Heavy launch contract a few weeks ago, and has been back recently from 2021 and 2022 to early 2023.

Only the USSF-67, whose official launch target has not been updated for over a year, is said to still be close to launch somewhere within the original launch window (H2 2022). If it actually launched without delay on a Falcon Heavy rocket in November 2022, it’s still a long way off. Meanwhile, Psyche’s delay on Sept. 20 means it could now collide with the ViaSat-3 Falcon Heavy mission, which must use the same launch pad. Most likely, ViaSat-3 is likely to slip in the fourth quarter, but the situation shows how painful planning for the launch of nearly half a dozen chronically delayed payloads should be for SpaceX.

Meanwhile, SpaceX must also store and maintain it nine Different Falcon Heavy boosters because 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 temporarily works as the Falcon 9 – contains 12 boosters, meaning more than 40% of all Falcon boosters are currently heavyweights.

No SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload was safe as the NASA Psyche mission announced the delay

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