NASA's Satellite Psyche: Project Moves from Designing to Manufacturing
Psyche is expected to launch in August 2022 and will fly by Mars for a gravity assist in May 2023.
Recently National Aeronautics Space Agency (NASA) completed the design of its satellite Psyche and said that the project has moved from planning and designing to manufacturing hardware for the spacecraft. Psyche, the NASA mission is to explore a metal-rock asteroid of the same name, passed the critical design review with 'flying colours', said Lindy Elkins-Tanton, principal investigator for Psyche who is leading the overall mission.
As per NASA, the mission began with drawing up digital blueprints, then was moved to engineering models, which were tested again and again to confirm that the systems do their job in deep space. After this, NASA conducted the critical design review that Psyche completed and moved to the manufacturing stage, bringing it closer to its August 2022 launch date that will send the spacecraft to the metal-rock asteroid in the central asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
NASA shared that exploring the asteroid Psyche, is about 140 miles, or 226 kilometres; wide could give valuable insight into how our planet and others formed since Earth's core can't be examined closely. "The Psyche spacecraft will use a magnetometer to measure the asteroid's magnetic field. A multispectral imager will capture images of the surface, as well as data about the composition and topography. Spectrometers will analyze the neutrons and gamma rays coming from the surface to reveal the elements that make up the asteroid itself," NASA shared in a release.
The main body of the spacecraft, the Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Chassis, is already being built at Maxar Technologies in Palo Alto, California. Assembly, testing and launch operations of the full spacecraft is scheduled to begin in February 2021. Psyche is expected to launch in August 2022 and will fly by Mars for a gravity assist in May 2023 before its expected arrival at the asteroid in early 2026.