A Slim 20%: Weather Concerns for NASA’s Psyche Rocket Launch

Psyche Rollout

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket with the Psyche spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled to the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Psyche mission, Tuesday, October. 10, 2023, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Psyche spacecraft will travel to a metal-rich asteroid by the same name orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter to study it’s composition. The spacecraft also carries the agency’s Deep Space Optical Communications technology demonstration, which will test laser communications beyond the Moon. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predict a 20% chance of favorable weather conditions for Thursday’s launch, with the anvil cloud, cumulous cloud, and surface electric field rules being the primary weather concerns.

SpaceX is targeting 10:16 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 12, to launch NASA’s Psyche spacecraft atop its Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Psyche has launch opportunities through October 25.

Psyche Transport From Astrotech to LC 39A

Teams transport NASA’s encapsulated Psyche spacecraft from the Astrotech Space Operations Facility in Titusville to Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, October 6, 2023. Psyche will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Liftoff is targeted for 10:16 a.m. EDT on Thursday, October 12. Riding with Psyche is a pioneering technology demonstration, NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Psyche is the first mission to explore an asteroid with a surface that likely contains substantial amounts of metal rather than rock or ice.  NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, is responsible for the insight and approval of the launch vehicle and manages the launch service for the Psyche mission.

The science briefing ahead of launch for NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, a mission to a unique metal-rich asteroid. Psyche will travel nearly six years and about 2.2 billion miles (3.6 billion kilometers) – to an asteroid of the same name, which is orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists believe Psyche could be part of the core of a planetesimal, likely made of iron-nickel metal. The ore will not be mined but studied from orbit in hopes of giving researchers a better idea of what may make up Earth’s core. The Psyche spacecraft also will host a pioneering technology demonstration: NASA’s DSOC (Deep Space Optical Communications) experiment. This laser communications system will operate for the first two years of Psyche’s journey. Credit: NASA/Chris Chamberland

Also today, officials from NASA, Arizona State University, and MIT discussed the launch of Psyche and the Deep Space Optical Communications experiment during a science briefing. (See video above.)

Participants included:

  • Lori Glaze, Planetary Science Division director, NASA Headquarters
  • Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Psyche principal investigator, Arizona State University
  • Ben Weiss, Psyche deputy principal investigator and magnetometer lead, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • David Oh, chief engineer for operations, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • Abi Biswas, project technologist for Deep Space Optical Communications, JPL

Be the first to comment on "A Slim 20%: Weather Concerns for NASA’s Psyche Rocket Launch"

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.