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NASA Launches Maxar-Built Psyche Spacecraft for Deep Space Mission

NASA Launches Maxar-Built Psyche Spacecraft for Deep Space Mission - top government contractors - best government contracting event

NASA launched the first deep space spacecraft built by Maxar Technologies‘ space systems business from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on Friday, Oct. 13. The destination is Psyche, the largest of the several metal-rich asteroids known in the solar system.

Maxar Space Systems created the spacecraft chassis based on the Maxar 1300 series bus, the company said Friday.

With the launch, NASA kicked off its longest mission that employs commercial solar electric propulsion. The original launch date was Oct. 5 but the spacecraft had to pass final thruster tests to be mission-ready.

The Psyche chassis, having spread its two solar arrays, is maneuvering toward the asteroid belt. It will begin the exploration of the asteroid by August 2029 and will collect data from its 140-mile-wide target in 26 months.

“Psyche will break records for deep space travel using SEP,” said Chris Johnson, CEO of Maxar Space Systems. “Psyche’s propulsion system is three times as powerful as SEP systems on more than 40 spacecraft we’ve built, and we’re producing a more powerful version for the power and propulsion element of NASA’s Gateway space station.”

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Written by Aidan Daly

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