NASA’s Psyche has been tested in various ways

Shake and Bake: NASA's Psyche has been tested on similar conditions in Space

NASA’s Psyche spacecraft can be seen on its way to the vacuum chamber at the company’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. Available: NASA / JPL-Caltech

In preparation for its launch in August, the Psyche spacecraft has been testing to ensure it can perform the critical conditions to meet its mission to a valuable asteroid.

Conditions that a NASA spacecraft must endure: the strong vibration and cacophony of the rocket launch, the vibration of separation from the launch vehicle, the rise in temperature inside and outside the rockets. the rays of the sun, the colorlessness of the sky.

Before starting, the engineers did their best to recreate these critical conditions in a rigorous test to ensure that the aircraft could not hit them. NASA’s Psyche spacecraft has completed its own set of electromagnetic, thermal-vacuum, vibration, shock, and acoustic testing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. Psyche was considered healthy and ready to get started.

“This is a guarantee that everything is working properly. [ATLO] but the ATLO team is also getting involved, ”said Randy Lindemann, the JPL engineer who oversaw the Psyche test, which includes vibration, vibration separation, and acoustic testing.

This spring, the aircraft will be sent from JPL to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it will be ready to launch from Cape Canaveral. The start period is Aug. 1, and nine months after leaving space, Psyche will fly ahead of Mars. He will use the gravitational power of the Red Planet to target his target, a rich asteroid, also called Psyche, located in the massive asteroid belt.

It is a journey of about 1.5 billion miles (2.4 billion kilometers). The spacecraft will land on the asteroid in 2026 and it will take 21 months to collect scientific data during low orbit. Asteroid scientists believe most of the metal comes from the base of a planetesimal, a building block of rock stars in our solar system. Learning more about it can tell us more about how our own world works.

Put his feet up

But in order to learn about the asteroid, the orbiter must first go there, which is the most important reason to test. Engineers call this regimen “environmental tests,” because the aircraft is equipped with a simulation of the critical environment to survive.

The announcement began in December with an electromagnetic test, to verify that the plane was moving correctly in the electric and magnetic conditions of the atmosphere – and the electrical and magnetic components were created to the spacecraft is stable and will not interfere with each other.

The team then rolled the aircraft into JPL’s 85-foot, 25-foot-wide (26-meter-8-meter) high-power drying chamber for thermal-vacuum testing (TVAC). . All the air was sucked out of the room to create a vacuum. This test will ensure that the aircraft can survive on the air engine, and will help the engineers to see how hot and cold the aircraft is without moving the air. help him regulate the temperature.

Shake and Bake: NASA's Psyche has been tested on similar conditions in Space

NASA’s Psyche spacecraft is housed in an ultra-sturdy vacuum chamber at the company’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. Available: NASA / JPL-Caltech

“Here on Earth, when you get air around the plane, it changes the way heat moves around it. Kristina Hogstrom, an aviation engineering engineer who helped lead the TVAC test the Psyche.

The temperatures around the aircraft really change. The device will heat up hours after its release, when it is close to Earth and directly in front of the sun, especially with its lightning bolts. Later, when the plane is farther away from the sun, it will be in the cold, and it will fly more in the shadow of the asteroid.

Over the 18 days of TVAC testing, engineers have demonstrated the aircraft’s extreme cold and temperature conditions to detect flight, ensuring its ability to regulate its own temperature. There are louvers that open and close the orbiter, insulation panels, electric heaters, and a network of pipes that carry water to move heat around; all of these agents were tested to make sure they would make the jump.

TVAC is not a patient test. Information about the aircraft’s performance will help engineers clean up the features they use while Psyche is flying so they can better understand how to fly. of the plane.

After Psyche’s problem in the TVAC room, comes a test of the dynamics, which include vibration, shock, and acoustics. In an attempt to shake, the plane is often shaken – up and down one side. The vibration test ensures that the aircraft will not be damaged by the immediate shot that the orbiter will receive when it is detached from the rocket after launch.

Finally, trying the sound to make sure that Psyche can withstand the noise of the start, when the sound of the rock is too loud can really hurt the player if not strong enough. an airplane. Inside JPL’s audio studio, the plane was tied up and exploded with a noise a hundred times louder than a traditional concert.

NASA’s Psyche mission is about to begin

More information:
For more information about NASA’s Psyche mission, visit: and

Provided by Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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