Exploring a new world: NASA’s Psyche mission spacecraft equipped with sensor technology from Jena

Jena-Optronik provides autonomous star sensors to Maxar for the attitude control system of the Psyche spacecraft.


Jena-Optronik GmbH supplies two ASTRO APS star sensors for NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, which was built by Maxar Technologies. The spacecraft will investigate the metal asteroid “Psyche” that is expected to offer insight into how our planet formed. The star trackers will help guide the spacecraft to the Psyche asteroid.


“Our sensor is going to a place where no one has gone before”, explains Peter Kapell, CEO of Jena-Optronik. “We thank Maxar for the opportunity and the trust to participate in such an important and pioneering exploration mission. Jena-Optronik has successfully worked with Maxar for over a decade and is very proud to continue supporting the Maxar team and its missions with our products.”


The Psyche mission is Jena-Optronik’s first deep space mission with the ASTRO APS star sensor on-board. Maxar is working together with Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the mission, which will be the first to explore what is believed to be an asteroid made of metal rather than rock or ice. The mission successfully launched on October 13, 2023 and is scheduled for arrival at the Psyche asteroid in 2029.

Pictures: public domain NASA, NASA/JPL-Caltech and Peter Rubin - JPL-CALTECH

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