It’s been six months since Psyche was selected for flight, and we’re starting to settle into a good rhythm of work. But what are we doing? I think it’s taken me these six months to figure out Phase B, where we are right now, myself. Let me share.
NASA has spent decades figuring out how to organize and manage complex, difficult, and miraculous space missions. NASA divides missions into five main phases (and some extras). The main phases are:
Phase A: Concept & Technology Development (for Discovery missions, that is equivalent to Step 2)
Phase B: Preliminary Design & Technology Completion
Phase C: Final Design and Fabrication
Phase D: System Assembly, Integration and Test, and Launch
Phase E: Operations and Sustainment
Phase F: Closeout
This, and so much more, is laid out in the NASA Procedural Requirements (“NPR,” but more on acronyms in a future post…whew) 7120.5E, a required read for people working on missions!
For Psyche mission, Phase C is scheduled to begin in May 2019; Phase D in January 2021; and launch in August 2022. And we are tightly scheduled all the way from here to there and beyond, so there will be a lot to write about.