NASA says its mission to asteroid 16 Psyche will not be able to launch in 2022 after engineers were unable to verify the readiness of the spacecraft program.
What could be up to a few weeks or months behind schedule will have major ramifications for the mission, extending the cruise phase — the time between launch and reaching Psyche — by Years. On top of the significant increase in Psyche’s overall cost, the delay means that another payload meant to launch on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in 2022 (or earlier) has been pushed back to 2023.
For years before its debut, the Falcon Heavy delayed itself indefinitely as SpaceX’s priorities and technology were constantly shifting around it. Even after the first version of the Falcon Heavy finally came out in February 2018, SpaceX chose to immediately upgrade the rocket to use the latest Falcon Block 5 variant, which again faced months of delays.
A little less than a year behind schedule, the first upgraded Falcon Heavy successfully completed the missile’s first commercial mission – the Arabsat 6A – in April 2019. The second Falcon Heavy Block 5 followed suit in June 2019 with a flight-sharing mission that doubled as a complex test flight that allowed the military The US eventually approved the missile to launch its most valuable satellite. The missile has not been launched once since then. As previously discussed in Teslarati, every spacecraft featured on the Falcon Heavy since the rocket’s first three launches has experienced significant delays.
“For unknown reasons, every Falcon Heavy near-term payload has slipped significantly from its original launch target. Over the past few weeks, the USSF-44—which was due to launch in June 2022 after years of delay—has beenIndefinitely 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 records which wasn’t actually confirmed as a Falcon Heavy launch contract until a few weeks ago, and has recently been rolled back from 2021 and 2022 to early 2023.”
Teslarati.com – May 26, 2022
Just one month later, it’s now USSF-44 net December 2022USSF-52 has It said Dropped to April 2023, and Psyche slipped to July 2023. At least for now, ViaSat-3, USSF-67, and USSF-44 are still targeting a 2022 launch, but it would take a minor miracle and an abrupt end to delay patterns for even one of those missions to avoid sliding into 2023 the next 3-6 months.
As a result, SpaceX continues to assemble an increasingly absurd fleet of unreleased Falcon Heavy boosters built and tested for launch targets that are now years behind schedule. The company is now stocking nine The various lateral and center cores of the Falcon Heavy, one of which supported the first two launches of the 2019 Falcon Heavy Block 5 and the other eight are flight-qualified but have never flown. Earthed Fleet may grow soon to 10 boosters, compared to the 11 or fewer active Falcon 9 boosters that SpaceX will likely end the year with.
Due to the nature of interplanetary launch windows and destinations, Psyche will be a particularly painful delay for NASA. The August-October 2022 window that NASA was recently targeting was to allow the 2.6-ton (about 5,700-pound) spacecraft to enter orbit around 16 Psyche in early 2026. According to NASA, the best possible backup launch window in 2023 will now be delayed Orbital insertion to 2029 or even 2030, effectively doubling the Psyche spacecraft’s flight time. according to 2022 Decadal Surveycruise stages of a similar class cost at least $30 million annually, which means delaying Psyche’s launch from 2022 to 2023 could easily cost NASA. An additional $100 million.
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