Two small spacecraft ought to have now been cruising by the Photo voltaic System on the best way to check unexplored asteroids, however after a number of years of improvement and practically $50 million in expenditures, NASA introduced Tuesday the probes will stay locked inside a Lockheed Martin manufacturing unit in Colorado.
That’s as a result of the mission, known as Janus, was imagined to launch final yr as a piggyback payload on the identical rocket with NASA’s a lot bigger Psyche spacecraft, which can fly to a 140-mile-wide (225-kilometer) metal-rich asteroid—additionally named Psyche—for greater than two years of close-up observations. Issues with software program testing on the Psyche spacecraft prompted NASA managers to delay the launch by greater than a yr.
An impartial overview board set as much as analyze the explanations for the Psyche launch delay recognized points with the spacecraft’s software program and weaknesses within the plan to check the software program earlier than Psyche’s launch. Digging deeper, the overview panel decided that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the Psyche mission, was encumbered by staffing and workforce issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.