NASA’s Heavy Metal Psyche Asteroid Voyage in October • Record

NASA is on track to launch its Psyche asteroid mission later in October this year, after fixing several project management issues that led to its early delays.

Psyche was originally scheduled to launch in August 2022 and cost approximately $1 billion, but was pushed back after engineers delivered the guidance, navigation and control (GNC) flight software eight months later than expected. The delay meant that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) did not have enough time to test key components of the spacecraft, and decided to postpone the launch.

An independent review board investigated the delay and found that a November 2022 report [PDF] The project was understaffed, workers suffered from burnout, and changes in top management disrupted work. Collaboration and communication between employees has been made more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest Report [PDF], dated May 2023, JPL has taken steps to turn the project around. The board now believes that NASA’s plan to launch the mission in October 2023 is „credible” and that the „overall probability of mission success is high.” Officers leading the Psych mission recruited more staff – especially in critical areas such as project chief engineer; GNC Cognitive Engineer and Fault Protection Lead Engineer.

The board had previously criticized the plan as having „major communication failures”. Psych team members reportedly raised issues with management, but their concerns were not taken seriously or acted upon before it was too late. In response, JPL encouraged employees to work together in person rather than independently from home to increase communication.

READ  Melting water ice may have contributed to the formation of craters on Mars, study concludes

„Majority return to work has made a huge difference in restoring visibility and informal communication across the project,” the report said. „Drop-in meetings, social coffee hours, off-site intensives and individuals 'walking the floor’ have improved team communication, problem-solving, efficiency and trust. The team also makes judicious use of remote and hybrid access options. It is appropriate to ensure flexibility without compromising their collaboration.”

However, JPL still needs to prepare for launch in some areas, including verification and validation of integrated systems and mission functions. Leaders must establish flight rules, procedures, and training personnel to meet flight readiness requirements.

Nicola Fox, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement: „I am pleased with the Independent Review Board’s positive assessment of JBL’s hard work in correcting the problems outlined in the JBL team’s original report.”

„We know the work is far from over. As we move forward, we will work with JPL to ensure that these implemented changes continue to be prioritized. Other tasks in JPL’s portfolio will be prioritized for success. We convened this group a few weeks after I joined as director and addressed the issues it raised.” Doing so was a major focus of my first year as director of JPL.

„The results are gratifying,” added Larry Leshin, director of JPL.

„Our goals go beyond taking minds to the launch pad as we work on missions that help us better understand Earth, explore the solar system and universe, and search for signs of life. The board’s findings reinforce the idea that JPL can solve any problem with the right focus and attention.”

READ  Tricky 3D printed joinery problem? Give heat stacking a try

The launch was delayed, and Psyche was not expected to reach its target, asteroid 16 Psyche, until August 2029 instead of 2026. In the solar system. Scientists are debating whether the asteroid could be the remnant metallic core of a failed rocky planet, and hope it could reveal secrets about how Earth-like planets formed. ®

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *