OSIRIS-REx Set For Bennu Orbital Insertion Today

Bill Jelen

December 31, 2018

Filtered by Tag: bennu

At 2:43:55 PM EST today, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will begin orbiting asteroid Bennu. This will make Bennu, which is only about 1,600 feet across, the smallest object ever orbited by a spacecraft. Launched on September 8, 2016, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived in the vicinity of Bennu on December 3, 2018.

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The Security Aspect of the OSIRIS-REx Mission

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft acronym stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer. "Security" means that scientists are trying to assess if asteroid Bennu is a threat to crash into the Earth during a series of close passes in the 2180-2250 time frame.

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A scale model of OSIRIS-REx, and a full size engineering mockup of the sample collection tool.

What's Next as OSIRIS-REx Approaches Asteroid Bennu

After travelling for over 23 months, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has begun an approach phase to rendezvous with asteroid Bennu. Here are key milestones between now and the December 31, 2018 orbital insertion around Bennu:

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Shots from the OSIRIS-REx launch, launched by United Launch Alliance at 7:05pm (ET) on September 8, 2016 from LC-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station / Kennedy Space Center.

Successful Milestone: OSIRIS-REx Takes Its First Photo of Asteroid Bennu

Launched on September 8, 2016, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft began its approach phase to asteroid Bennu on August 17, 2018. The photograph shows Bennu as a point of light and was taken from 1,358,459 miles away.

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