After postponing its original launch date due to bad weather, the conditions are now looking favorable for NASA to launch its Psyche mission today. The initial plan had been to launch the mission yesterday, Thursday, October 12, but poor weather conditions at the launch site Kennedy Space Center launch site in Florida forced the launch to be rescheduled. Now, the plan is to launch at 10:19 a.m. ET, Friday, October 13,
The U.S. Space Force, which provides weather predictions for NASA launches, has predicted an 85% chance of favorable weather at the launch site today. The launch will use a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to carry the Psyche spacecraft out of Earth’s atmosphere and into space, where it will begin its six-year journey to visit a metal asteroid also named Psyche.
Fueling of the rocket begins this morning ahead of the launch time. According to NASA, this is the first time that a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket has been used to launch a primary science mission under NASA’s Launch Services Program. The rocket was only certified for NASA use at the beginning of this year, after a review process of more than two years.
The aim of the mission is to investigate an unusual asteroid, located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which seems to be made of an unusually high proportion of metal. Most asteroids are primarily rock with a small amount of metal, but this one is thought to be almost entirely composed of iron and nickel. The asteroid could be the core of a forming planet, called a planetesimal, whose development was interrupted by a collision that knocked off its exterior rocky layers, leaving just a metallic core behind.
You can watch the launch live as it happens by heading to NASA’s YouTube page for the event, with coverage beginning shortly at 9:15 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. PT). Alternatively, the stream will also be available on Twitch, Daily Motion, and the NASA app.
- How to watch the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch U.S. space plane to orbit on Sunday
- Watch SpaceX’s amazing slo-mo footage of Starship launch
- NASA laser communications test riding with Psyche sends back its first data
- How to watch SpaceX launch world’s most powerful rocket on Saturday
- Watch NASA’s trailer teasing next week’s launch of streaming service