NASA Sets Jet Propulsion Lab to Blast Over Psyche Mission Failure
This independent assessment board was unaffected.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology has been notified by NASA after an assessment revealed serious personnel issues that prevented the Psyche Mission from launching.
As multiple NASA watchers have pointed out, the agency seems very angry with the JPL after an independent assessment committee discovered that several problems in the lab led to the repeated misstep of the launch of the Psyche Missionwhich is set to investigate a rare metal asteroid that could be worth a reported $10 trillion dollars if mined.
According to the report, which was conducted by a team of 15 people led by retired NASA heavy hitter Tom Young, the JPL did not have enough experienced personnel to cover Psyche. In addition, it found that the lab management did not pay enough attention to it. Some “major communication breakdowns” between management levels seemed to exacerbate it all.
In addition, the “post-pandemic work environment” appeared to cause further problems with the project, the report found. Taken together, these issues “have a significant negative impact on the execution of JPL flight projects.”
Sound the alarm
The report notes that while Psyche team members “sounded the alarm” about these issues, they didn’t think anyone at whatever management level was taking them seriously. It’s hard to argue with that assessment as, according to the report, project managers failed to recognize these issues “until it was too late to fix them in time for a 2022 launch.”
“A culture of ‘proving there is a problem’ has led to important issues raised by team members being ignored,” the report added.
The director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, Dr. Lori Glaze, said: during a press conference that the VERITAS Venus mission will have to be postponed from 2028 to 2031 due to problems caused by JPL’s failure to launch Psyche (which is now will be launched next fall).
“Corrective action is urgently needed,” the report concluded, “and failure to act will result in more ‘Psyches’ and possible in-flight failures.”
Such accusations are shocking to hear – but in the age of repeated mission briefsthey will no doubt be taken seriously.
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