NASA and SpaceX are now targeting Oct. 12 at 10:16 a.m. EDT for a Falcon Heavy launch of the Psyche mission from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The change allows the NASA team to complete verifications of the parameters used to control the Psyche spacecraft’s nitrogen cold gas thrusters. These thrusters are used to point the vehicle in support of science, power, thermal and other demands, such as spacecraft orientation and momentum management. The parameters were recently adjusted in response to updated, warmer temperature predictions for these thrusters. Operating the thrusters within temperature limits is essential to ensure the long-term health of the units.
The verification activities involve rerunning simulations and fine-tuning adjustments as required to the flight parameters and procedures.
NASA, SpaceX, and Psyche mission managers met today, Sept. 28, to conduct a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the FRR, teams provided an update on the mission status, and certified the readiness to initiate final launch preparation activities including a static fire test on Sept. 29.
Psyche has launch opportunities every day between Oct. 12 and Oct. 25.
Digital content creators are invited to register to attend the launch of NASA’s Psyche spacecraft and create content based on the experience. The Psyche mission will journey to a unique metal-rich asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.
Psyche is scheduled to lift off at 10:38 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 5, on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Launch Services Program is managing the launch.
If your passion is to communicate and engage people online, then this event is for you! Seize the opportunity to see and share the #MissionToPsyche launch. A maximum of 35 social media users will be selected to attend this two-day event (Oct. 4-5, 2023) and will be given access similar to news media.
NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:
View a launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket
Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center
Meet and interact with Psyche science and engineering experts
Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
NASA Social registration for the Psyche launch opens on Tuesday, Aug. 22, and the deadline to apply is 12 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 28. All social applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The crew that will soon launch to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission arrived Sunday at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start final preparations for liftoff.
Crew members NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, commander; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, pilot; and mission specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, landed via Gulfstream jet aircraft at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy after departing from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The flight crew will be greeted at arrival by leaders from NASA, JAXA, and ESA.
A media event is scheduled about 12:15 p.m. EDT with the following participants:
Bill Nelson, administrator, NASA
Bob Cabana, associate administrator, NASA
Janet Petro, director, NASA Kennedy
Dana Hutcherson, deputy manager, Commercial Crew Program
Eric van der Wal, lead, International Space Station Program Houston Office, ESA
Junichi Sakai, program manager, International Space Station, JAXA
NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, spacecraft commander
Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, mission specialist
The event is scheduled to broadcast live, if weather permits, on NASA Television and the agency’s website. No teleconference option is available for this event.
Crew members are scheduled to lift off at 3:49 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 25, aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carried by a Falcon 9 rocket for a full duration mission to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
This is the seventh crew rotation flight and the eighth human spaceflight mission on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station for CCP. Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the Crew-7 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on X, and commercial crew on Facebook.
NASA’s Psyche spacecraft took another step closer on its upcoming journey to a metal-rich asteroid of the same name. On Aug. 14, a team of technicians and engineers moved the spacecraft from Building 1 to Building 9 at Astrotech Space Operations facility near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Inside Building 9, technicians will load about one metric ton of xenon gas into seven 22-gallon tanks inside the spacecraft.
Psyche’s solar electric propulsion will use large solar arrays to convert sunlight into electricity, which will power four Hall thrusters. The thrusters will use electric and magnetic fields to accelerate and expel charged xenon particles, or ions, to create thrust and propel the spacecraft to its destination after launch. The thrusters will operate one at a time and will have a blue glow from the xenon.
Psyche is targeted to launch Oct. 5 atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy. After launch, Psyche is set to arrive at the asteroid in July 2029, where it will spend 26 months gathering observations that will help scientists learn more about planetary formation.
In addition to its primary mission, Psyche has NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) technology demonstration onboard the spacecraft. DSOC will be the agency’s first demonstration of optical communication beyond the Moon. DSOC will send test data to and from Earth using an invisible near-infrared laser, which has much higher bandwidth than radio wave systems currently used on spacecraft.
The target launch date for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station now is 3:49 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 25. Additional time was required for teams to complete pad readiness after SpaceX’s recent Falcon Heavy mission lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The adjustment also takes advantage of consecutive launch opportunities and deconflicts the station’s cargo spacecraft traffic schedule.
NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard the company’s Dragon spacecraft.
Crew-7 is scheduled to dock to the orbiting laboratory about 2:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module. If needed, Crew-7 has additional launch opportunities on Saturday, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 27.
NASA’s Psyche spacecraft has completed another milestone. Solar arrays are now ready to power the spacecraft on a 2.5-billion-mile (4-billion-kilometer) journey to a metal-rich asteroid to help us learn more about planet formation. A team of engineers and technicians received, prepared, and installed the solar arrays on the spacecraft at the Astrotech Space Operations Facility near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Artemis II crew – NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Hammock Koch, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen – visited Naval Base San Diego on July 19 ahead of the first Artemis II recovery test in the Pacific Ocean, Underway Recovery Test-10. The test will build on the success of Artemis I recovery and ensure NASA and the Department of Defense personnel can safely recover astronauts and their Orion spacecraft after their trip around the Moon on the first crewed Artemis mission.
The crew met with recovery team members from NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program and the Department of Defense to learn more about the recovery process for their mission, which includes being extracted from the spacecraft after splashing down in the Pacific Ocean and being lifted via helicopter to the recovery ship where they will undergo routine medical checks before returning to shore.
The visit included a walkdown of the ground equipment and facilities the team uses to practice recovery procedures along with a walkthrough of the recovery ship. The crew will participate in full recovery testing at sea next year.
On June 25, 2023, teams completed installation of the heat shield for the Artemis II Orion spacecraft inside the high bay of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The 16.5-foot-wide heat shield is one of the most important systems on the Orion spacecraft ensuring a safe return of the astronauts on board. As the spacecraft returns to Earth following its mission around the Moon, it will be traveling at speeds of about 25,000 mph and experience outside temperatures of nearly 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside the spacecraft, however, astronauts will experience a much more comfortable temperature in the mid-70s thanks to Orion’s thermal protection system.
Up next, the spacecraft will be outfitted with some of its external panels ahead of acoustic testing later this summer. These tests will validate the crew module can withstand the vibrations it will experience throughout the Artemis II mission, during launch, flight, and landing.
Once acoustic testing is complete, technicians will attach the crew module to Orion’s service module, marking a major milestone for the Artemis II mission, the first mission with astronauts under Artemis that will test and check out all of Orion’s systems needed for future crewed missions.
Rocket Lab will assess the weather as it evolves over the weekend and confirm a new target date soon.
This launch is the first of two planned launches, each sending a pair of shoebox-sized satellites, called CubeSats, to low Earth orbit. TROPICS will provide data on temperature, precipitation, water vapor, and clouds by measuring microwave frequencies, providing insight into storm formation and intensification. Originally, Rocket Lab was targeting 9 p.m. EDT, Sunday, April 30 (1 p.m. New Zealand Standard Time, Monday, May 1) for the launch.
Follow launch updates on this blog and stay connected with the mission on social media.
Several thousand pounds of important research, crew supplies and hardware are on their way to the crew members aboard the International Space Station following the 2:20 p.m. EST launch of NASA’s SpaceX 26th commercial resupply services mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft reached its preliminary orbit and its solar arrays have been deployed. A series of thruster firings are scheduled to allow Dragon to rendezvous with the space station on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 a.m. EST. Live coverage of the docking will begin at 6 a.m. EST at https://www.nasa.gov/live.
NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann will capture the Dragon using the space station’s robotic arm and then install it on the station’s Harmony module. Dragon will spend about one month attached to the space station.