NASA canceled the launch of the Psyche asteroid mission on Thursday

SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX have canceled the launch of the Psyche asteroid mission on Thursday.

Officials blamed the delay in bad weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center launch site in Florida.

They now aim to launch SpaceX’s triple-booster Falcon Heavy rocket carrying the spacecraft at 10:19 ET on Friday, October 13. Live launch coverage will begin at 9:15 a.m. ET on various NASA channels, including on YouTube And NASA Live.

SpaceX’s triple-booster Falcon Heavy rocket, carrying the Psyche spacecraft, is on the launch pad and ready to fly.

The delay, announced Wednesday afternoon, did not come as a big surprise because NASA said a day earlier that Thursday’s weather forecast showed there was only a 20% chance of acceptable weather conditions for the launch.

If Friday is unsuccessful, the mission team has additional launch opportunities until October 25.

NASA’s Psyche mission is the first to explore an asteroid with a surface that scientists believe contains larger amounts of metal than typical rock and ice. The spacecraft will travel about 2.2 billion miles to a point between Mars and Jupiter on a journey to the asteroid that will take about six years. Once the celestial body is visible, the spacecraft will deploy a suite of science instruments to examine the 170-mile-wide asteroid in hopes of gaining insight into the early stages of the solar system. The analysis could also reveal how rocky planets like Earth and Mars formed billions of years ago.

This mission will also be NASA’s first space test of a laser-based Deep Space Optical Communications system, which will pave the way for higher bandwidth communications for future NASA missions.

In related news, NASA on Wednesday unveiled it samples of rock and dust it collected from the asteroid Bennu before it was brought to Earth last month.

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