NASA postpones mission to asteroid Psyche by a week
The one-week delay cuts considerably into Psyche's launch window, which runs through Oct. 25
Psyche had been scheduled to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on Oct. 5. But that's no longer the plan; the mission team has pushed the liftoff back to Oct. 12.
The one-week delay cuts considerably into Psyche's launch window, which runs through Oct. 25.
The slip was announced the same day that the NASA, SpaceX and Psyche mission managers conducted a flight readiness review at KSC.
During that meeting, a go-ahead was given to perform a "static fire" of the Falcon Heavy on Friday (Sept. 29), NASA officials said.
Static fires are standard prelaunch tests, in which a rocket's first-stage engines are fired briefly while the vehicle remains anchored to the ground.
The Psyche launch will be just the eighth overally for the Falcon Heavy, the second-most powerful rocket currently in operation after NASA's Space Launch System. Psyche will be the first NASA mission for the Heavy.
The $1.2 billion Psyche mission will study a bizarre metallic asteroid of the same name. If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will arrive at the 170-mile-wide (280 kilometers) space rock Psyche, which resides in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, in 2029.