Launch of the Psyche mission is postponed to October 12

The launch of the interplanetary vehicle Psyche will be postponed from October 5 to October 12. This is stated in a message published on the mission’s blog.

The Psyche spacecraft is in a clean room. Source: NASA/Frank Michaux

The goal of Psyche is the 278-kilometer asteroid Psyche, characterized by a high content of metals (iron and nickel). According to a popular hypothesis, it is a fragment of the core of a protoplanet that died at the beginning of the formation of the Solar System. Psyche will have to investigate the metallic asteroid in detail and confirm or refute this assumption.

Initially, Psyche was supposed to reach its goal in October last year. But the launch was postponed for a year due to the unavailability of the ground simulator of the spacecraft. This shift led to the fact that NASA had to send a pair of Janus probes to the warehouse, which were supposed to go into space together with Psyche as a passing cargo.

Now Psyche is located on the territory of the Kennedy Space Center. Recently, engineers connected the spacecraft to a payload attach fitting that will allow it to be installed on a Falcon Heavy rocket. The probe was supposed to be launched on October 5. 

But, as it became known, the launch of Psyche will be postponed for a week. This is caused by the need to complete the verification of the parameters used in the control of the orientation system engines. They run on nitrogen and are used for such purposes as pointing the probe’s scientific instruments, maintaining communication with the Earth, and correctly orienting solar panels. Recently, the parameters of their work were adjusted, which required additional verification.

Now NASA has 13 days left to send the probe to Psyche. The ballistic window for launching the spacecraft will be open until October 25.

According to

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