Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
As OSIRIS-REx speeds away from Earth, it’s been turning on and testing out its various engineering functions and science instruments. Proof of happy instrument status has come from several cameras, including the star tracker, MapCam, and StowCam.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is safely en route to asteroid Bennu following an evening liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
OSIRIS-REx is ready to begin its journey to Bennu and back. The asteroid was named by a Planetary Society contest winner, and the spacecraft bears the names of 440,000 well-wishers.
The OSIRIS-REx mission passed its flight readiness review yesterday, clearing the way for the spacecraft to launch on Thursday, September 8. Here's a schedule of next week's NASA TV briefings and a photo album of the launch preparations.
The month of September begins with an annular solar eclipse visible from much of Africa on September 1. On or after September 8, we'll see OSIRIS-REx launch into a two-year cruise toward a rendezvous with asteroid Bennu. But September will close, sadly, with the end of the wonderful Rosetta mission.
Launch day is coming for NASA's next interplanetary explorer! OSIRIS-REx is on schedule for launch on September 8, 2016 at 19:05 EDT (16:05 PDT, 23:05 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. OSIRIS-REx is the first NASA planetary launch since MAVEN in 2013, and will be the last until InSight in 2018.
Only 24 days remain until the opening of OSIRIS-REx's launch period, and final preparations are underway. There is a lot to do in the final months before a launch, but things seem to be going well.
OSIRIS-REx's long journey to an asteroid has begun. The spacecraft departed Colorado on Friday, May 20, travelling aboard an Air Force C-17 to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.
Bradley Williams, Systems Engineer for the camera suite on NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission, details the path that led him to his current position.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has completed the Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) system level test.
The OSIRIS-REx instrument team has successfully installed the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) on the spacecraft. However, there is more to the story of how REXIS made it onto the spacecraft.
The OSIRIS-REx team successfully and safely completed sine vibration (sine vibe) testing on the spacecraft prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. The sine vibe tests are designed to verify the system performs as expected after being exposed to flight-like low frequency vibration input.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continues to make steady progress toward launch in September 2016. Environmental testing is now underway to ensure the spacecraft is ready for the many conditions it will experience over its mission.
The OSIRIS-REx mission continues to make great progress and is in the Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) phase of the program. There's been many great accomplishments leading up to this point.
Historically, NASA missions set aside a portion of their budgets for education and public outreach, or EPO. However, the OSIRIS-REx EPO budget got deleted in 2013 as part of a broader federal policy change. Dante Lauretta decided to make a run at a private company to recover the lost OSIRIS-REx EPO program – and Xtronaut was born!
The assembly of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continues, with many elements integrated onto the spacecraft ahead of schedule. Last month both OTES and OVIRS were delivered to Lockheed Martin and installed on the science deck.
While the OLA, OCAMS, and REXIS instruments on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continue working towards their deliveries, other hardware onsite at Lockheed is undergoing testing prior to installation. The hardware is put through tests here on Earth prior to launching into space.
With all the focus on Pluto it's hard to keep up with all the other space missions currently exploring other planets. Here are brief updates on three of them.
2015 has seen few deep-space-craft launches, but 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year with three launches, followed quickly by a fourth in early 2017. All of the missions under development have reported significant milestones recently.
The nature of the origin of life is a topic that has engaged people since ancient times. The samples to be collected by OSIRIS-REx, returned to the Earth in 2023 and archived for decades beyond that, may indeed hide the secrets to the origin of life.
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