NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at its goal in December 2018. Since then, the spacecraft has been performing varied goals of its mission and has discovered quite a bit in regards to the area rock. Now, after spending over a yr in orbit, OSIRIS-REx will lastly touchdown on the asteroid Bennu on October 20 for its first pattern assortment try.
That is the primary asteroid pattern return mission for NASA, and the OSIRIS-REx workforce has the problem of performing beneath the restrictions adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Missions of such calibre definitely require intensive preparation as sudden challenges additionally have to be accounted for. Whereas there have been no main hiccups but, “it is now time to prioritize the well being and security of each workforce members and the spacecraft,” explains Wealthy Burns, venture supervisor of OSIRIS-REx at NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Middle.
Therefore, the ultimate rehearsal and eventual touch-down for the pattern assortment mission from Bennu’s floor have been rescheduled. The OSIRIS-REx workforce now has two additional months of preparation time after taking into consideration the brand new work surroundings. Initially, the mission’s remaining rehearsal and the primary pattern assortment try had been scheduled for June and August respectively. However now the schedule has been moved ahead to August 11 and October 20, respectively.
OSIRIS-REx is formally GO for TAG 🚦🟢
We have locked down our schedule for the yr:
❏ Might 26 – Recon C flyover of backup website Osprey
❏ Aug 11 – Second Pattern Assortment Rehearsal
❏ Oct 20 – First Pattern Assortment Try
— NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) May 20, 2020
Lately, OSIRIS-REx completed a rehearsal in preparation of the touchdown. Throughout this ‘Checkpoint Rehearsal’, the spacecraft was taken to an altitude of 213ft (65m) above Bennu’s floor to check its imaging, navigation and ranging techniques labored as they need to throughout descent. Through the remaining rehearsal, OSIRIS-REx might be dropped at an approximate altitude of 131ft (40m) over the floor of Bennu.
Lastly, The spacecraft will then carry out its first pattern assortment try by touchdown on Nightingale, the primary sample site selected for the mission. If the spacecraft is ready to accumulate a “ample pattern” throughout this try, there might be no different makes an attempt. OSIRIS-REx is then scheduled to depart Bennu someday in mid-2021 after which it should lastly arrive on Earth on September 24, 2023.
Whereas speaking in regards to the “the extraordinary ability and dedication of the OSIRIS-REx workforce,” Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator on the College of Arizona, says, he’s “assured that even within the face of the present problem, this workforce might be profitable in amassing our pattern from Bennu.”
The @OSIRISREx workforce has been demonstrating the very essence of exploration by persevering by means of sudden challenges. That spirit has led them to the cusp of securing a pattern of an asteroid to convey house to Earth, and I’m very excited to observe them by means of the house stretch. https://t.co/lolrJk1JW6
— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) May 20, 2020
Picture Credit score: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona