NASA’s Psyche mission is off to explore the metal-rich asteroid that may shed light on our own planet’s formation.
Watch the Psyche spacecraft launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. NASA and SpaceX are now targeting launch at 10:19 a.m. EDT (1419 UTC) Friday, Oct. 13. The mission to Psyche will take us on a journey to a metal-rich asteroid.
During this mission we will be researching the largest metallic object in the solar system, how planets form and testing high-speed laser communications with Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) technology.
Highlights from the Oct. 13, 2023, launch of NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, which will travel 2.2 billion miles to a metal-rich asteroid in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Psyche lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:19 a.m PDT (10:19 a.m. EDT).
For its six-year, 2.2-billion-mile (3.6-billion-kilometer) trip to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Psyche relies on solar electric propulsion. The efficient propulsion system works by expelling charged atoms, or ions, of the neutral gas xenon to create a thrust that gently propels the spacecraft. Along the way, the spacecraft will use Mars’ gravity as a slingshot to speed it along on its journey.
Images credit NASA