Launch

The Psyche mission launch occurs in Phase D. NASA selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the Psyche mission. NASA announced on June 24, 2022, that launch of the Psyche mission would be delayed.

Prior to launch, the instruments and spacecraft are assembled and tested.

A group of people are moving a huge piece of equipment into a massive storage space.

Once the Psyche spacecraft is fully assembled with the solar panels, which fold during transport and launch, the spacecraft will be shipped to Kennedy Space Center, Florida. At the launch site, the team will conduct an entire re-check of the spacecraft before integrating it with the launch vehicle.

This artist's conception shows the Psyche spacecraft against a starry background orbiting above the heavily cratered surface of the Psyche asteroid.

Watching the Psyche Mission Launch

NASA announced on June 24, 2022, that launch of the Psyche mission would be delayed.

Psyche Quick Facts

  • Mission Name: Psyche
  • Main Job: To determine whether Psyche (the asteroid) is a protoplanetary core, how old it is, whether it formed in similar ways to the Earth’s core, and what its surface is like.

WHAT LAUNCH VEHICLE WILL THE PSYCHE MISSION USE?

NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the Psyche mission on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA announced on June 24, 2022, that launch of the Psyche mission would be delayed.

HOW WILL THE PSYCHE SPACECRAFT GET TO PSYCHE?

Once in space, the Psyche spacecraft travels using solar-electric (low-thrust) propulsion. Solar electric propulsion uses electricity from solar arrays to create electromagnetic fields to accelerate and expel charged atoms (ions) of xenon to create a very low thrust with a very efficient use of propellant.[14] This will be the first use of Hall effect thrusters beyond lunar orbit.

Diagram of the spacecraft's orbit around the asteroid.

HOW FAR WILL THE PSYCHE SPACECRAFT TRAVEL?

NASA announced on June 24, 2022, that launch of the Psyche mission would be delayed.