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Emily LakdawallaSeptember 2, 2016

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

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

Just completed @OSIRISREx Mission Dress Rehearsal. Anomaly team threw us a few curveballs but we made it through. Team is ready for launch!

— Dante Lauretta (@DSLauretta) September 2, 2016

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

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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