NASA’s Psyche almost ready for launch to metal asteroid

There are all sorts of quirks in the depths of our solar system, and one of the most intriguing is a strange metallic asteroid called Psyche. At 140 miles across, it is one of the largest asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and is the only asteroid discovered so far that could be composed entirely of iron and nickel.

That makes Psyche a valuable target for research because it could teach us how planets like Earth—which has a metallic core—formed and evolved. To learn more about this unusual asteroid, NASA will soon launch a mission, also known as Psyche, to visit the asteroid and orbit it for 21 months.

The Psyche spacecraft is in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA/Isaac Watson

With the mission’s launch scheduled for August 1 this year, using a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the Psyche spacecraft is preparing for its launch and long journey. Recently, the spacecraft was moved to a special facility at Kennedy, where it is being tested and readied for its big debut.

“Since its arrival on April 29, the Psyche spacecraft has moved to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where technicians removed it from its protective shipping container, turned it vertically, and began its final steps. the spacecraft for launch,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote in an update.

Over the next few months, crews will complete a range of work, including re-installing solar panels, re-integrating a radio, testing the telecommunications system, loading propellants and encapsulating the spacecraft in the payload fairings before launching. it leaves the facility and goes to the launch pad.”

The spacecraft’s massive solar panels were fully deployed during a test in March and will be needed to power the spacecraft during its 2.4 billion kilometers (2.4 billion kilometers) journey. It will travel for 3.5 years and receive a gravity boost from a flyby of Mars in 2023, with its arrival in Psyche scheduled for 2026.

NASA has released a trailer for the mission which you can watch below:

Leave a Comment