MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates‘ U.S. subsidiary Space Systems Loral has received a $75 million contract to provide a composite-based spacecraft platform for a NASA mission that aims to explore the 16 Psyche metallic asteroid.
SSL will build a power propulsion chassis equipped with a solar electric propulsion technology and collaborate with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arizona State University under the Psyche exploration mission, MDA said Thursday.
SSL President John Celli said the project will help researchers to “better understand the early days of the solar system and formation of terrestrial planets.”
The 13-diameter 16 Psyche asteroid is believed to be the only body in the solar system that can support metal planetary core research.
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, will serve as the principal investigator for the mission through NASA’s Discovery Program.