MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates‘ U.S. subsidiary Space Systems LoralÂ has received a $75 million contract to provide aÂ composite-based spacecraft platform forÂ aÂ NASA mission that aims to explore the 16 Psyche metallic asteroid.
SSL will buildÂ 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 projectÂ will help researchers to “better understand the early days of the solar system and formation of terrestrial planets.”
The 13-diameterÂ 16 Psyche asteroid is believed to be the only body in the solar system that can supportÂ metal planetary core research.
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, willÂ serve as the principal investigator forÂ the mission throughÂ NASA’s DiscoveryÂ Program.