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Launching to a Metal-Rich Asteroid

In the distance, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launches with the Psyche spacecraft onboard. They are gray and almost blend in with the sky. A bright blaze extends from the bottom of the rocket and clouds of smoke roll just above the trees. Palm trees on the right take up the majority of the foreground.
NASA / Aubrey Gemignani

NASA’s Psyche spacecraft launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This image captures the beginning of the spacecraft’s journey to a metal-rich asteroid of the same name.

The body of the Psyche spacecraft is about the size of a small van, and it’s powered by solar electric propulsion. It has a magnetometer, a gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer, and a multispectral imager to study asteroid Psyche’s composition. The spacecraft will start sending images to Earth as soon as it spots the asteroid.

See more photos from the launch.

Image Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani