SENER Aeroespacial delivers thermal louvers to Maxar for NASA’s Psyche asteroid exploration mission

SENER Aeroespacial has delivered a flight set of 20 thermal louvers to Maxar Technologies, a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure. Maxar will use the louvers on a spacecraft it is building for a NASA asteroid exploration mission called Psyche.

SENER Aeroespacial team for the Psyche mission

The Thermal Louvers are a temperature control technology, “Venetian blind” style, with a configuration of 10 and 20 blades, which open or close depending on the thermal range of operation by means of a bimetal spring that acts as an actuator. The thermal louvers allow the evacuation of the heat generated by the electronics of the on-board systems and significant energy savings.

SENER Aeroespacial was selected by Maxar as the louvers supplier, based on its previous experience on the thermal louvers for the Rosetta probe, which in 2014 became the first satellite to rendezvous with a comet. On that pioneering mission, led by the European Space Agency, SENER Aeroespacial successfully produced 15 louvres, each comprising 16 blades.

The scientific goals of the Psyche mission are to understand the building blocks of planet formation and explore first-hand a wholly new and unexplored type of world – one that is likely made largely of nickel-iron metal. The mission team seeks to determine whether Psyche is the core of an early planet, how old it is, whether it formed in similar ways to the Earth's core, and what its surface is like.

The spacecraft's instrument payload will include a magnetometer, a multispectral imager, and a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. The mission will also test a sophisticated new laser communications technology, called Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC).

The mission is led by Psyche Principal Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for the mission’s overall management, system engineering, integration and test, and mission operations. Maxar Technologies is providing a high-power solar electric propulsion spacecraft chassis.

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