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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

OSIRIS-REx is on the launch pad, ready for the big day

Posted By Emily Lakdawalla

02-09-2016 16:21 CDT

Topics: pretty pictures, mission status, OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft, rockets

The OSIRIS-REx mission passed its flight readiness review yesterday, clearing the way for the spacecraft to launch on Thursday, September 8. That news came out just before the catastrophic loss of a SpaceX rocket on a launch pad just 2 kilometers away, but NASA has assured the public that the aftermath of the Falcon 9 explosion has had no effect on OSIRIS-REx's continuing preparations. Hurricane Hermine has passed by Florida, too, so for now, September 8 remains the anticipated launch date.

OSIRIS-REx atop its rocket

NASA / Kim Shiflett

OSIRIS-REx atop its rocket
On August 29, 2016, the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return spacecraft was placed atop its Atlas-Centaur rocket in preparation for launch.

There are numerous televised briefings and talks about OSIRIS-REx planned for next week, which you can watch on NASA TV. Here is the schedule, with times in PDT / EDT / UTC. Check my launch timeline for more detail about what to expect on launch day.

September 6:

September 7:

September 8:

Here is a little photo album of the last month's worth of OSIRIS-REx launch preparations, taken from NASA Kennedy's Flickr page.

OSIRIS-REx waiting for encapsulation

NASA / Glenn Benson

OSIRIS-REx waiting for encapsulation
Inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is prepared for encapsulation in its payload fairing.
Attaching the single solid rocket booster to OSIRIS-REx's Atlas, August 9, 2016

NASA/Kim Shiflett

Attaching the single solid rocket booster to OSIRIS-REx's Atlas, August 9, 2016
Stacking OSIRIS-REx's Centaur atop the Atlas, August 11, 2016

NASA/Kim Shiflett

Stacking OSIRIS-REx's Centaur atop the Atlas, August 11, 2016
OSIRIS-REx being stacked atop its rocket, August 29, 2016

NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

OSIRIS-REx being stacked atop its rocket, August 29, 2016
 
See other posts from September 2016

 

Read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, mission status, OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft, rockets

Comments:

DrMorbius: 09/02/2016 09:52 CDT

A single SRB? Wow, that must create some guidance issues, but I am sure this has been done before.

pitcapuozzo: 09/03/2016 03:58 CDT

I think you got the launch window times wrong, Emily. The 2-hour launch window opens at 19:05 EDT // 23:05 UTC, not 23:05 EDT // 03:05 UTC as you state in the article. I'll be watching the launch in the UK at 01:05 on September 9th, but according to your timeline, it would be at 04:05.

pitcapuozzo: 09/03/2016 04:00 CDT

@DrMorbius: the two main engines are more than capable to compensate for the offset thrust. Plus, the SRB is almost exactly halfway between the two nozzles, so it makes it easier for them to compensate via gimballing. And, as you say, it has been done before without any problem.

pitcapuozzo: 09/03/2016 04:03 CDT

Oops, I meant I'll be watching it at 00:05. My bad. But still, I believe the launch time is 23:05 UTC, not 03:05 UTC.

Emily Lakdawalla: 09/03/2016 04:45 CDT

You're right, pitcapuozzo! Sorry about the confusion.

pitcapuozzo: 09/05/2016 05:07 CDT

No problem! Thanks for everything you do.

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