Excitement is building in the world of space exploration as NASA and its partners prepare for the upcoming launch of the Psyche spacecraft. Scheduled for liftoff on a SpaceX rocket on October 13, 10:19 a.m. EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, this groundbreaking mission will journey to and investigate the asteroid Psyche, a unique metallic world located between Mars and Jupiter which is believed to be composed of iron and nickel. By unraveling the secrets of Psyche, researchers at NASA and Arizona State University hope to gain insights into the early formation of Earth’s core and the cores of other terrestrial planets.
Redwire is proud to have delivered 10 coarse sun sensors for the Psyche spacecraft. Similar to how humans use Google Maps to navigate, the Psyche spacecraft will leverage its coarse sun sensors to help it accurately navigate the stars during its nearly 2.2-billion-mile journey from Earth to the asteroid.
“The coarse sun sensors we provided for the Psyche spacecraft had challenging field-of-view requirements,” said Mike Kagan, Redwire’s Principal Engineer for Psyche. “We designed an unconventional baffle to meet these needs, enabling the sensors to work effectively as the Psyche spacecraft maneuvers towards its destination.”
Redwire’s sun sensors have been instrumental to a variety of high-profile space missions including:
- NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which successfully demonstrated the capability to redirect an asteroid in 2022;
- NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, the first-ever mission to “touch” the sun;
- New Horizons, which provided first-ever science and imagery of Pluto and Arrokoth;
- and multiple rover missions to Mars, including Mars Pathfinder, Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance.
Learn more about how Redwire’s sun sensor technology onboard the DART spacecraft enabled the first planetary defense test mission here.