posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 09:51 AM
A software glitch has postponed the scheduled Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launch until Friday morning. The problem was found in the software that
monitors the fueling processes of the rocket a few minutes before takeoff of the orbiter. The orbiter is planned to spend four years retrieving data
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- NASA postponed launching a spacecraft to Mars on Thursday after a glitch popped up in the computer software used for
monitoring the fueling of the rocket used for liftoff.
The problem with sensors and software that measure the amount of fuel being loaded into the rocket appeared with just minutes left until liftoff. The
launch was rescheduled for Friday morning.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is expected to spend four years circling Mars, collecting information that will help NASA plan where to land two
robotic explorers later this decade and possible future human exploration of the Red Planet.
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As a programmer myself, and prone to developing "software-free bugs" as well, I'm surprised this isn't more common (or at least not as well
publisized). Regardless of that, given that it is in the fuel monitoring system this is definitely a good thing they scrubbed it. I personally would
rather not see them spend billions of dollars on a fireworks show.
I guess this is a reminder that there's always the potential for problems with space flight though, and I'm glad to see them find as many problems as
possible on the launch pad. I imagine those are easier to fix than when the object is a few million miles away.
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