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Sener participates in NASA’s Psyche mission, which will investigate how the terrestrial planets formed


Sener has provided 20 thermal control louvres – an advanced device similar to a Venetian blind – that will dissipate the heat generated by various components on the craft, yielding considerable energy savings during the mission, which will be launched on Thursday, 12 October.

The ship will travel nearly 4 billion kilometres to Psyche, an asteroid rich in metals with characteristics similar to those in the Earth’s core, whose observation will allow us to understand the process that formed the terrestrial planets.

The Sener engineering and technology group has participated in NASA’s Psyche mission, which is scheduled to be launched on Thursday, 12 October. Specifically, Sener provided a flight assembly of 20 thermal control louvres to the American company Maxar, which used them in the spacecraft built for the mission that will explore the asteroid Psyche, from which it takes its name.

Thermal control louvres are a temperature control technology, similar to Venetian blinds, with a configuration of 10 and 20 slats that open or close depending on the operating thermal range using a bimetallic spring that acts as an actuator. These thermal control louvres allow the heat generated by the electronic components of the on-board systems in the craft to be evacuated, yielding significant energy savings. These functions are of great importance, given the demanding conditions that the mission must endure.

The craft’s journey will last almost six years, as it travels approximately 4 billion kilometres to reach the asteroid’s orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Psyche is an unexplored asteroid rich in metals. It could be part of the nucleus of a planetesimal (an accumulation of matter from which the planets form after a slow process).

Deep inside the rocky, terrestrial planets (such as Earth), scientists theorise the existence of metal cores at an unreachable depth, well below the rocky mantle and crust of the planets. The Earth’s core cannot be seen or measured directly, so Psyche offers a unique opportunity to better understand the process that forms terrestrial planets.

Sener has been selected to provide these advanced systems due to its prior experience manufacturing the louvres used in the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Probe, which in 2014 became the first satellite to land on a comet. For that pioneering mission, Sener produced 15 louvres with 16 slats each.

Sener is one of the leading international suppliers of electromechanical components and systems for the aerospace sector, as illustrated by its involvement in the Psyche mission. In this regard, Isabel Soto, technical manager at Sener, notes:“Psyche is a mission of great scientific value that will, in a way, allow us to travel to the centre of the Earth, helping scientists get answers to old and new questions alike. We are happy to provide our know-how and technology to help NASA in this undertaking”.

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