Preparing for Psyche's Array Test Deployment
Team members prepare to integrate one of two solar arrays on NASA's Psyche spacecraft inside the Astrotech Space Operations facility near the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 24, 2023. The solar arrays are part of the spacecraft's solar electric propulsion system, which will power the orbiter on its journey to explore a metal-rich asteroid, also called Psyche.
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy is targeted to launch Psyche from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center no earlier than Oct. 5, with additional opportunities scheduled through Oct. 25.
Arizona State University leads the Psyche mission. A division of Caltech in Pasadena, JPL 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.
JPL also is providing a technology demonstration instrument called Deep Space Optical Communications that will fly on Psyche in order to test high-data-rate laser communications that could be used by future NASA missions.
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.