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The Spacecraft

The Psyche spacecraft and solar panels, which will be built by SSL, are about the size of a singles tennis court. The body of the spacecraft is slightly bigger than a Smart Car and about as tall as a regulation basketball hoop. The spacecraft will include a Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer, a Multispectral Imager, a Magnetometer and an x-band radio telecommunications system.

The Psyche mission will also test a sophisticated new laser communication technology, called Deep Space Optical Communication, that encodes data in photons to communicate between a probe in deep space and Earth.

Spacecraft Size
~81 ft (24.76 meters) long by ~24 ft (7.34 meters) wide
Bus (Body) Size
~10 ft (3.1 meters) long by ~8 ft (2.4 meters) wide
Flight Time
3.4 years
Mission Cost
$850 million
This drawing compares the size of the Psyche spacecraft to a tennis court.

Spacecraft Size

The Psyche spacecraft (including the solar panels) is about the size of a singles tennis court.

This is a drawing showing a comparison of the size of the spacecraft bus (its

BUS (Body) Size

The bus or “body” of the spacecraft is slightly bigger than a Smart Car and about as tall as a regulation basketball hoop.

The Spacecraft

The Psyche spacecraft, comprised of the bus (body), two solar arrays in a cross formation, and the instrument payload, will use solar electric (low-thrust) propulsion to travel to and orbit the asteroid.

A drawing showing one component (a box-like shape) of the propulsion system.

Propulsion System

The spacecraft will be propelled by solar electric propulsion.

This drawing shows the Psyche spacecraft bus (

Fully-Equipped

The spacecraft will include a Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer, a Multispectral Imager, a Magnetometer and an x-band radio telecommunications system. The Psyche mission will also test a sophisticated new laser communication technology, called Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC), that encodes data in photos to communicate between the spacecraft and Earth.