Construction of the Space probe for NASA's Psyche Mission

The after eight wrapper is a very good choice and looks nice and authentic :+1:


Thanks John, then we have the same good taste!


White markings? NASA used white duck tape. :rofl:

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Well roared lion, maybe, not to be confused with tit tape.

In this image I have down scaled the labels to the size of my space probe.

Here you can look at all the details in the original and then try to zoom in and read what is written on the labels, which is more important than the labels themselves.

Source: NASA

Here I’ve drawn a corresponding 0,5 mm wide strip on label paper and marked 1 mm long snippets on it for the tiny labels, which I’ve then cut out.

Then I tried to use tweezers and a cutter to form a row that would now be roughly true to scale.

As one can see that my lines are a bit too long, but with the permanent marker (Montana Acrylic) you can’t create such tiny dashes, at best they can be hinted at.

Applying these snippets on to the dark paper is almost like milking mice, we would say in Germany.

Now you’ll may surely understand what I mean, that this crazy madness I don’t want to do to myself in my old days. up040577.gif


Hello everybody,

for a change, today I dealt with the covered the X-Band High Gain Antenna again and initially replaced its surface with a more shiny aluminum foil.

Then I’ve thought about how I could scratch the continuous all-round covering of the antenna below the cone, by using dark paper (After Eight), which on this image could be seen more clearly than I had previously recognized.

Due to the slight inclination of the antenna, I needed the unrolling of this fairing, which I’ve fiddled with for a while.

To do this, I first cut a strip of paper the length of the circumference of the antenna (Ø 30 mm), which had to be 100 mm. I then rolled it up and placed it around the antenna so that I could mark the height contour of the antenna against the lamplight,

which wasn’t that easy.

I could use this small plastic can (Ø 30 mm) as a support for the wrinkled lower foil cladding, which does not have sufficient inherent stability, when I mark the determined contour line on it and remove the remaining excess.

This is the unrolling of the cladding, which I can now transfer to the After Eight paper and cut out after wrinkling and apply it below the antenna,

which I hope will succeed.


Hello friends,

inspired by Mike’s suggestion regarding the white duck tape, I was even a bit more interested in these ‘markings’ on the solar probe’s cladding.

Even if the arrangement of these strips of different lengths may seem completely arbitrary and irregular at first glance, these markings must have had a purpose, especially since in the zoom it looks as if they were labels with legends, for whatever …

Source: NASA

Source: NASA

In this image, just for fun, I determined the dimensions of these markings for my model probe, according to which the tiny lines (approx. 0,5 mm x 1 mm) should be.

Source: NASA

Here I have drawn a corresponding approx. 0,5 mm wide strip on label paper, and marked then 1 mm long sections for the mini labels,

which then were cut off.

In a crazy action comparable to mouse milking, as it is called in Germany, I’ve then patiently tried to use tweezers and a cutter to form a row that would now be roughly true to scale, while these ‘dashed lines’ are not so evenly arranged in reality.

That’s why one can see that my lines are too long, but with the Permanent marker (Montana Acrylic) you can’t draw such tiny dashes, at best you can only hint at them.

Then, during my research, I came across some NASA original photos that I had not previously seen. Upon closer inspection, I became aware of further details that plays havoc with my previous view of these [color=blue]rod systems[/color] and their foil cladding, which is why I have to rethink and modify my previous solution approach.

As one can see in this image (zoom!), the area between the rod systems behind the X-Band High Gain Antenna is not open, but is also covered by dark foil with such strips, which means that the bottom part of the antenna is literally enveloped from behind,

Source: NASA

which can also be seen from this image (zoom!).

Source: NASA

The bottom part of the antenna is also covered in dark foil all around, which I had already noticed and still needs to be taken into account.

That’s why there are Crossbars on the rear rod system that run diagonally downwards for attaching the film, which one can just about see in this image,

which appear under the cladding in this image too.

I now have to try to put these new insights into practice.

There’s nothing like good NASA original photos, you just have to know how and where to find them.


I, I, wha… wow…



Incredulous Mike.

Alone he lacks faith, but blessed are those who do not see and yet believe!

It’s already in the Bible …

BTW, and here one can see that these ar not only duck tape, but labels with legends.


Now that’s what you call intricate detailing … !!

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Exactly, John, especially because you unfortunately can’t see them under the cladding.

That’s why I’ll still have to keep looking for better photos.

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Hello everybody,

speaking of covered Crossbars, anyone who knows me knows that as a retired researcher I can’t stop thinking about it and I want to know what it looks like underneath.

So I continued searching and actually found what I was looking for.

In this photo from an early phase of the construction of the solar probe (2021-03-29) you can also see the uncovered rod system, which consists of more struts than previously assumed.

Source: NASA

Now I don’t want to recreate that exactly, but the insight alone helps me with my scratch build, as I can at least modify the back of the rod system a little, so that the rear Foil cladding should then resemble the shape of the images shown in the last post and look better.

In this way one can get the model closer and closer to the original until you are satisfied with the result.


I am bit surprise those friends from Florida didn’t know anyone with in depth knowledge of this project. Those are your Shuttle gurus and I can guess those NASA guys stick together…like a bean burrito :grin:

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Hi Mike,

finally someone from the experts did speak out.

“They’re pieces of fiberglass tape that reinforce the thermal blanket tie-downs. Apparently the Psyche spacecraft vendor liked to use that method, which I hadn’t seen previously on spacecraft from other vendors.”

That sounds very interesting, and I asked him, if he knows what material the thermal blankets are made of?

So far I was only thinking of a type of foil and wanted to ask the manufacturer, Maxar Technologies in Westminster (Colorado), already.

I still think that they are some kind of tags of the positions of special equipment or sensors of the probe, especially since on some of them at high magnification one can see inscriptions that I have circled.

Source: NASA

Wait and see.


Wow, never knew there is a such thing as fiberglass tape. Glad someone chimed in for you on the other forum. :wink:

Now, if only my neighbor can get hold of this tape…



Well, you never stop learning, that keeps your mind fresh.

It’s good if you have friends who are more familiar with it.


Hello everybody,

this NSF contact lead me to an interesting source, the Red Book by the Sheldahl Corporation, the global specialists for Heat management materials, who have provided corresponding solutions for every major US Space Program since the 1950s, as are particularly needed for Lunar modules, Space probes, Space telescopes, etc., so that their electronics can work.

Source: Sheldahl Corporation

“Since it was first published, the Red Book has been recognized as one of the industry’s leading sources for information on aerospace technologies.”

Accordingly, the probe claddings are Multilayer Insulation (MLI) Blankets, which are fitted with [color=blue]MLI ceiling fastening tapes (MLI Blanket closure tapes)[/color], which are intended to prevent gaps in the insulating layer.

“Depending on the specific needs of your mission, the number of layers and thickness of our MLI blanket materials can be adjusted to provide the optimal level of insulation. And because our MLI blanket materials are lightweight, they can help reduce the overall spacecraft weight, allowing for a larger payload on board.” Source: Sheldahl (Red Book)

So much for this problem of Thermal protection, which has now become a lot clearer to me thanks to the support from the NSF Forum, which is why I will adapt my space probe claddings a little more.


Great source for reference work :+1:

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Thanks John, let’s go on.

Hello everybody,

the more closely I look at the original photos, the more some details of my previous solution still seem to need improvement.

As a first detail, I took another look at the upper blanket of the X-Band High Gain Antenna and discarded my previous solution because its silver foil isn’t wrinkled as much and only the struts in the form of the Mercedes star become apparent underneath.

That’s why I thought of a film can (Ø 31 mm) from from yesteryear to support the enveloping black blanket, on which I taped the slant with a narrow strip of tape,

and then have carefully cut it off with the fine saw.

Then I discarded the previous somewhat battered blue cap from the Paper Kit,

and replaced it with a new one made of cardboard, onto which I’ve glued the three struts made of brass wire so that they would hopefully become apparent out a little under the smooth silver foil,

which worked out quite well.

Then I still glued the slightly folded black AE paper around the bottom part,

wherewith I’ll leave it at that for now.

I then glued the Top Deck of the probe with my AE black paper.

As next detail I still will have to modify the rod systems a little bit, as I don’t like the previous version with the black AE paper glued to cardboard, because the blankets just seem too flat,

and should look a little more ‘airy’.


Hello everybody,

that’s why I rebuilt the rod systems new again, for which I used Evergreen Styrene Rods (Ø 0,88 mm), which I taped on my template fixed and then glued together.

First I’ve cut the struts for the two side rod systems and glued them together.

So that the individual rods cannot slip, my tried and tested pin-pin technique on a Balsa plate was used again.

Then the struts for the rear rod system were glued together.

And this is what the finished three rod systems look like:

for which I will now prepare the blankets from the black AE paper.


Hello everybody,

before that, I wanted to try on the three rod systems on the space probe, but I didn’t want to glue them together, but only have connected them movable with Masking tape (1,5 mm) so that I could spread them out again to attach the black MLI Blankets to make this tricky work a little easier.

And so far I really like the arrangement. After blanketing with the blankets made of AE paper, one can no longer see any of the rod systems anyway.

And the new X-Band High Gain Antenna also fits the picture well,

so that I can now confidently tackle the tricky blankets.