Post Date: Post Date – 01:40 PM, Saturday – October 29th
Washington: NASA has announced that it will launch the delayed Psyche mission in October to investigate a similarly named asteroid.
NASA selected Psyche in 2017 to investigate a previously unexplored metal-rich asteroid of the same name. It is part of the agency’s Discovery Program, a series of low-cost, competitive missions led by a principal investigator.
Earlier this year, Psyche missed its planned 2022 launch due to mission development issues, leading to an internal review of whether the mission could overcome those issues and launch successfully in 2023.
“The lessons learned from Psyche will be implemented across our entire mission portfolio. I’m excited about the scientific insights Psyche will provide over its lifetime and its promise to help us understand the core of our own planet,” NASA Thomas Zurbuchen, associate director of the Washington Science Mission Directorate, said.
The mission team continues to complete testing of the spacecraft’s flight software in preparation for a 2023 launch date.
The new flight profile is similar to the one originally planned for August 2022 to send the spacecraft to the asteroid Psyche in 2026 using Mars gravity assist.
The Psyche spacecraft, which will launch in October 2023, will reach the asteroid in August 2029, NASA said in a statement late Friday.
“I have full confidence in the advancement of this program and am excited about the unique and important science this mission will return,” said Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Laurie Lessing.