NASA’s highly anticipated Psyche asteroid mission has experienced yet another setback, as the launch has been delayed by a week. Originally scheduled for October 5, the liftoff is now set for October 12. The delay comes as the space agency seeks to verify the spacecraft’s thrusters.
The adjustments in the parameters used to control the Psyche spacecraft’s nitrogen cold gas thrusters were made in response to updated temperature predictions. These modifications were deemed necessary to ensure the success of the billion-dollar mission, which has already faced delays due to software problems.
The launch will take place from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 10:16 a.m. EDT on October 12. The powerful Falcon Heavy rocket will carry the probe into space. Before liftoff, the rocket is expected to undergo a static test firing of its booster engines to ensure its readiness.
Fueling and testing of the spacecraft were completed on September 22, and it was connected to the Falcon Heavy on September 20. Now, the stage is set for the probe to embark on its epic journey through the solar system.
Over the course of the mission, the Psyche probe will travel an astonishing 2.2 billion miles. In 2026, it will perform a gravitational slingshot around Mars, utilizing the planet’s gravitational pull to gain momentum for continued exploration.
The target of this groundbreaking mission is the asteroid Psyche. With an irregular shape and a diameter of approximately 140 miles, this celestial body is composed largely of nickel and iron metals. The Psyche mission will provide scientists with an unprecedented opportunity to study a metal-rich asteroid and gain insights into the early solar system.
As NASA works diligently to address the necessary adjustments for the Psyche mission, excitement continues to build. This exploration of a metal-rich asteroid promises to expand our understanding of the universe and unlock the mysteries of our own cosmic origins.