NASA asteroid mission: Psyche Spacecraft almost ready for launch
Psyche spacecraft at JPL. Psyche will be on an asteroid-orbiting mission
16 Psyche is the heaviest known M-type asteroid, and is thought to be the exposed iron core of a protoplanet,the remnant of a violent collision with another object that stripped off its mantle and crust.
On 4 January 2017, the Psyche mission was selected for NASA's Discovery #14 mission.
The launch is planned for 01 August 2022 at 2pm local time on a Falcon Heavy vehicle.
The cost of the launch, including secondary payloads, is US$117 million.
Psyche will be launched on a trajectory that will perform a gravity assist maneuver past Mars on 23 May 2023, toward the asteroid belt, and intercept the asteroid Psyche.
Psyche will encounter 16 Psyche asteroid and enter orbit on 31 January 2026. The spacecraft would orbit at decreasing altitudes or regimes.
The mission is planned to orbit the asteroid for at least 21 months.