NASA granted a contract to SpaceX on February 28 for the liftoff of a mission to a massive metallic space object on the company’s Falcon Heavy spacecraft. NASA explained that it would utilize a Falcon Heavy to takeoff its Psyche mission in July this year from the Kennedy Space Center.
Psyches, as funny or odd as it might sound, it one of the two projects NASA chose back in January 2017 for its Discovery program of comparatively low-cost planetary science projects.
The developed mission will utilize a Mars flyby in 2023 to reach its destination, an asteroid also dubbed Psyche, in January 2026. The spaceship will touch the orbit close to the space object, one of the biggest in the primary asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.
The Psyche Mission Developed for Space
Psyche is mainly made of nickel and iron and could represent the fragments of a center of a protoplanet. That cosmic feature tried to produce there before high-velocity crashes with other planetesimals shattered it apart. Researchers think that analyzes of the asteroid Psyche could offer them the right amount of data to comprehend the formation of the solar system.
Arizona State University conducts the Psyche project, with Maxar as the main contractor for the spaceship. The liftoff will also transport two secondary payloads, such as the Dynamics Explorers, dubbed EscaPADE, and the Escape and Plasma Acceleration. They will examine the Red Planet’s atmosphere and Janus, which will analyze the binary asteroids.
Lucy is another mission chose back in 2017 for the Discovery mission. It will reach Trojan asteroids in the same orbit close to our host star as Jupiter. NASA granted a takeoff contract to United Launch Alliance in January 2019 for the liftoff of that project on an Atlas 5 next year.