The team of engineers at the Kennedy Space Center has taken the next step towards preparing for the launch of the Psyche mission. It has successfully downloaded all the necessary software on board the spacecraft.
The goal of the Psyche mission is Psyche, a 280-kilometer asteroid with a high metal content. Many scientists suspect that it is a fragment of the core of a protoplanet that collapsed at the dawn of the existence of the Solar System. Psyche should check this assumption.
Initially, the launch of Psyche was scheduled for the autumn of last year. But in the end, the spacecraft did not fly anywhere. The reason was the unavailability of the ground simulator of the spacecraft, designed to work out various technological operations and software testing. Because of this, NASA had to postpone the launch of Psyche for one year. This delay allowed the engineers to prepare the necessary equipment and finally test the software, removing the main obstacle on the way to flight.
Currently, engineers are busy with final assembly operations. These include disconnecting the last cables used to test the equipment, installing external panels (they were removed to gain access to the internal systems of the spacecraft), and a heat-shield coating. At the end of July, impressive solar panels will be installed on Psyche (their surface area is 75 m2), and in August, it will be filled with 1085 kg of xenon. It is used as fuel by the ion engines of the spacecraft.
The ballistic window for the launch of Psyche will be open from October 5 to October 25, 2023. The spacecraft will be launched into space by a Falcon Heavy rocket. It will take Psyche six years and one gravity maneuver in the vicinity of Mars to get to the target. If all goes well, the spacecraft will enter orbit around Psyche in August 2029.
Recall that NASA recently decided to send a pair of Janus probes to the store, which were once planned to be launched together with Psyche as passing cargo.
According to https://www.nasa.gov
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