Psyche probe is preparing to be installed on a rocket

Specialists of the Kennedy Space Center connected the Psyche probe with a payload attach fitting. Thus, it has become one step closer to the launch scheduled for the beginning of next month.

Connection of the Psyche probe to the payload attach fitting. Source: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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 should investigate the metallic asteroid in detail and confirm or refute this assumption.

A Falcon Heavy rocket will be used to launch the spacecraft into space. Currently, technicians are completing the final preparations for the launch. Psyche is fueled with xenon fuel (it is needed to power its ion engine), and its huge solar panels are folded.

The next step was to connect the probe to the payload attach fitting. After the probe is covered by the head fairing, the attach fitting will allow the installation of the Psyche on the Falcon Heavy.

Currently, the launch of Psyche is scheduled for October 5. Its journey to Psyche will take six years. During this time, the probe will fly a distance of 3.6 billion km and fly over Mars to take advantage of its gravity to accelerate. The spacecraft will reach Psyche in August 2029. The nominal scientific program of the mission is designed for 21 months.

According to

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