NASA’s Psyche Spacecraft Mate to Payload Attach Fitting (PAF)
Technicians connected NASA’s Psyche spacecraft to the payload attach fitting inside the clean room at Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. This hardware allows Psyche to connect to the top of the rocket once secured inside the protective payload fairings. Psyche will lift off on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at 10:34 a.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Psyche spacecraft will travel nearly six years and about 2.2 billion miles (3.6 billion kilometers) to an asteroid of the same name, which is orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists believe Psyche could be part of the core of a planetesimal, likely made of iron-nickel metal, which can be studied from orbit to give researchers a better idea of what may make up Earth’s core.