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NASA’s Psyche: Final Assembly Begins

A major component of NASA’s Psyche spacecraft has been delivered to the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, where the phase known as assembly, test, and launch operations is now underway. Over the next year, the spacecraft will finish assembly and undergo rigorous checkout and testing before it’s shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for an August 2022 launch to the main asteroid belt. The Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Chassis, crafted by Maxar Technologies’ team in Palo Alto, California, represents more than 80% (by mass) of the hardware that will ultimately make up the Psyche spacecraft. Psyche’s target is a metal-rich asteroid of the same name, which orbits the Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists think that Psyche is largely iron and nickel and could be the core of an early planet. Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech
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