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Preparing Psyche for Launch


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In the foreground, a plant with several small white and yellow flowers is in focus near a grassy hill. In the distance, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket and Psyche spacecraft roll out of a large rectangular building with "SpaceX" and an American flag on the side.
NASA / Aubrey Gemignani

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket with the Psyche spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility on Oct. 10, 2023, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as preparations continue for the Psyche mission. NASA’s Psyche spacecraft will travel to a metal-rich asteroid by the same name orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter to study its composition. The spacecraft also carries the agency’s Deep Space Optical Communications technology demonstration, which will test laser communications beyond the Moon.

If all goes as planned, asteroid Psyche’s gravity will capture the spacecraft in late July 2029, and Psyche will begin its prime mission in August. It will spend about two years orbiting the asteroid to take pictures, map the surface, and collect data to determine Psyche’s composition.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, at 10:19 a.m. EDT for launch from Kennedy Space Center. Watch the launch on NASA TV.

Image Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

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