Happy Birthday Psyche: Year 1
We were selected for flight January 4, 2017…what have we been doing this year?
Today is January 3, 2018, and Psyche’s selection for flight was announced by NASA on January 4, 2017. Other than freaking out, pinching ourselves, and printing stickers, what have we been doing this year?
Every Friday since April, Henry Stone, our Program Project Manager at JPL, has sent an email with significant events for the week to a group of people including our NASA HQ managers Diane Brown and Sarah Noble , and Belinda Wright at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Here’s a selection, with some editorial comments, of what’s happened this year.
January through March: We were working hard but mainly at getting on contract, staffing up, organizing ourselves. Weekly Significant Events emails didn’t start until April.
ASU held a Discovery Program Win Celebration on 4/17 and included guest speakers Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate and Michael Crow, the President of ASU, among others. Personnel from the JPL Project Office and industry partner Space Systems Loral (SSL) were also in attendance and participated in the panel discussion.
The Flight System Manager, Mark Brown, and Payload Manager, Kalyani Sukhatme, formally moved into the Psyche Project Office at JPL.
Held the first Psyche quarterly review with NASA HQ.
Held our first Psyche Team Meeting at ASU (most missions have “Science Team Meetings” but we include all disciplines so are calling them Team Meetings instead.)
NASA formally approved Psyche’s 2022 launch date.
Working on first iteration of cost and schedule reviews, end-to-end for the mission.
Several risk-reduction activities were underway, having been identified in Step 2. Some are trade studies for specific engineering solutions, for example, battery design. Some are scientific studies, such as the ones Ben Weiss at MIT is carrying out to estimate the strength of a possible Psyche magnetosphere.
Held Instrument Inheritance Reviews for the magnetometer and the gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. In these reviews we go over every change from the previous version of the instrument that the team wants to make, and then a review panel responds with concerns and actions. Intense!
Held the imager inheritance review.
With NASA HQ, wrote the mission success criteria and finalized the Project Level Requirements Appendix (PLRA), a document that we sign and that becomes one of the benchmarks for the mission.
Finalized Level 1 Requirements! More about requirements in a future blog. We’re working down to Levels 3 and 4 now.
Completed iteration 2 of the cost and schedule, refining iteration 1, which was in turn refining what we had in the Step 2 Concept Study Report (the big proposal handed in in August, 2016).
Low-pressure testing of the SPT-140 Hall thrusters at Glenn Research Center’s VF-5 Test Chamber. Success!
Many hours working on instrument robustness. Basic question: If X instrument fails, will we still be able to answer Y science objective if Psyche turns out to be Z? More in an upcoming blog!
ASU begins four interdisciplinary senior capstone projects involving 72 undergraduates working on real Psyche projects. Next year, we roll out nationwide. Let us know if your university is interested! We also begin our Psyche Inspired art and creative writing undergraduate experience, also going nationwide next year!
Completed cost and schedule. Submitted for NASA review.
Early results from instrument robustness study. Trades identified and underway. How do we ensure mission success with the least risk and least cost?
Testing magnetic properties of heaters.
Closed trade study on tanks for our xenon: we’ll go with 7. Seven tanks of xenon.
Every subcontractor now on contract! Woo hoo!
All along, working on requirements: we have now completed the preliminary Level 2 requirements, the draft environmental requirements, the draft Level 3 payload requirements, the draft Level 3 flight system requirements, and the draft Level 3.5 SEP Chassis requirements.
First of many coordination meetings with the Planetary Data System Small Bodies Node.
Second Team Meeting, held in New Orleans right before the American Geophysical Union Meeting. 65 people present, and we finished on time and happy, and we invented the “Tim Talk” (after Tim McCoy) in which each of us will give a brief, comprehensible overview of our field so that we can all speak the same language and truly collaborate. We’ll film them, too.
Thanks for reading the blog and being a part of Psyche mission! Let me know, is this kind of technical detail interesting? From responses to previous blogs, it seems like this sort of insider stuff is. Let us know, we’ll tailor what we post here! Happy New Year!