Max Q: Psyche(d) | TechCrunch

Hello and welcome back to Max Q!

In this issue:

SpaceX launches NASA asteroid mission
News from Relativity Space and more

Godspeed, Psyche.

The large NASA spacecraft is officially en route to a metal-rich asteroid (also named Psyche) after taking off on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket last week. The mission marked the first time a NASA science mission has used SpaceX’s larger rocket for a launch.

Psyche (the spacecraft) will now embark on a six-year, 2.2 billion-mile journey to Psyche (the asteroid), which sits in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Before the spacecraft reaches its target, it will conduct a technology demonstration of the Deep Space Optical Communications experiment. If successful, it would be the first time optical communications are demonstrated beyond the Earth-moon system.

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket with the Psyche spacecraft onboard is launched from Launch Complex 39A, Friday, October 13, 2023, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

More news from TC and beyond

Astra Space is reportedly weighing up selling a 51% stake in its in-space propulsion business or selling other parts of the business, like equipment.

Evolution Space has a new deal with NASA to begin building a solid propulsion center and solid rocket motor testing at the agency’s Stennis Space Center.

Relativity has signed a launch agreement with Intelsat that would see the telecom giant’s satellites fly on a Terran R rocket as early as 2026.

Image Credits: Relativity

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