(ORDO NEWS) — On Friday, NASA suspended the flight to the asteroid, blaming the late delivery of its own navigation software.
The Psyche mission to the strange metallic asteroid of the same name was supposed to launch in September or October of this year.
But the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was several months late in delivering its software for navigation, guidance and control – a critical part of any spacecraft. Engineers simply didn’t have enough time to test it, officials said.
Now the space agency is about to take a step back, and an independent review will show what went wrong, when the spacecraft could be launched again and whether it should be launched at all, said NASA Planetary Science chief Laurie Gleizes.
NASA has already spent $717 million on Psyche, and the projected total cost, including the launch rocket, is $985 million.
The spacecraft, the size of a small car, was originally thought to arrive at its asteroid in 2026 after a journey of more than 1.5 billion kilometers. But now, if Psyche ever arrives at its intended target, it won’t be until 2029 or 2030.
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