Psyche Undergoes Vibration Testing
An engineer works on NASA's Psyche spacecraft amid vibration testing at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California on March 8, 2022. The test is among a series intended to ensure the spacecraft can withstand the jostling and high decibels of launch as well as the harsh environment of deep space.
Slated for an October 2023 launch, Psyche is scheduled to reach its destination – a mysterious asteroid of the same name, in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter – in July 2029. Measuring about 173 miles (279 kilometers) at its widest point, the asteroid presents a unique opportunity to explore a metal-rich body that may be part of a core of a planetesimal, the building block of an early planet. The spacecraft will spend at least 26 months orbiting the asteroid, gathering images and other data that will tell scientists more about its history and what it is made of.
Arizona State University leads the Psyche mission. A division of Caltech in Pasadena, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for the mission's overall management, system engineering, integration and test, and mission operations. Maxar Technologies in Palo Alto, California, provided the high-power solar electric propulsion spacecraft chassis.
Psyche is the 14th mission selected as part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the Kennedy Space Center, is managing the launch service.