Emily LakdawallaSep 02, 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
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. NASA / Kim Shiflett

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:

  • 10:00 PDT / 13:00 EDT / 17:00 UTC: Prelaunch mission briefing
  • 11:00 PDT / 14:00 EDT / 18:00 UTC: OSIRIS-REx mission science briefing

September 7:

  • 9:00 PDT / 12:00 EDT / 16:00 UTC: OSIRIS-REx Talk
  • 10:00 PDT / 13:00 EDT / 17:00 UTC: Uncovering the Secrets of Asteroids

September 8:

  • 13:30 PDT / 16:30 EDT / 20:30 UTC: Launch coverage begins
  • 16:05 PDT / 19:05 EDT / 23:05 UTC: Two-hour launch window opens
  • 2 hours after launch: Post-launch press conference

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
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. NASA / Glenn Benson
Attaching the single solid rocket booster to OSIRIS-REx's Atlas, August 9, 2016
Attaching the single solid rocket booster to OSIRIS-REx's Atlas, August 9, 2016 NASA/Kim Shiflett
Stacking OSIRIS-REx's Centaur atop the Atlas, August 11, 2016
Stacking OSIRIS-REx's Centaur atop the Atlas, August 11, 2016 NASA/Kim Shiflett
OSIRIS-REx being stacked atop its rocket, August 29, 2016
OSIRIS-REx being stacked atop its rocket, August 29, 2016 NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

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