By Nancy Neal Jones NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
New tracking data confirms that NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aced its first Deep Space Maneuver (DSM-1) on Dec. 28, 2016. The engine burn sets up the spacecraft for an Earth gravity assist this fall as it continues its two-year journey to the asteroid Bennu.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2016, NASA drove advances in technology, science, aeronautics and space exploration that enhanced the world’s knowledge, innovation, and stewardship of Earth.
“This past year marked record-breaking progress in our exploration objectives,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We advanced the capabilities we’ll need to travel farther into the solar system while increasing observations of our home and the universe, learning more about how to continuously live and work in space, and, of course, inspiring the next generation of leaders to take up our Journey to Mars and make their own discoveries.” (more…)
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA’s first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth will be multitasking during its two-year outbound cruise to the asteroid Bennu. On Feb. 9-20, the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security– Regolith Explorer) spacecraft will activate its onboard camera suite and commence a search for elusive “Trojan” asteroids.
“No sooner had we accomplished the securing of the pumps when I was approached by another one of our range users who explained they were losing pressure on the chillers at a neighboring launch complex. Without those chillers the spacecraft for the next launch would be lost. [Emphasis added] Needless to say at this point I had to reestablish our priorities and get a team working on a way to get our IRT into Space Launch Complex 41 to allow access for technicians to enter in order to make the necessary repairs.”
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx was sitting on top of an ULA Atlas V on Space Launch Complex 41. Read the full story below.
LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Government of Canada recognizes the valuable contributions of the nation’s researchers as they continue to explore new frontiers in science. Today, Canadian-built technology launched on board a NASA spacecraft that is en route to a mysterious asteroid named Bennu. The OSIRIS-REx launch occurred at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 7:05 p.m. EDT and was attended by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science. She was joined on site by Sylvain Laporte, President of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and Dr. Erick Dupuis, the CSA‘s Director of Space Exploration Development.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.,Sept. 8, 2016 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft for NASA lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. EDT. The Atlas V launched the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft into a hyperbolic trajectory away from Earth where it will begin a seven-year mission to return an asteroid sample. This is ULA’s eighth launch in 2016 and the 111th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
Video Caption: On Sept. 6, NASA previewed the science of the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security – Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx mission, during a pre-launch news conference at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. OSIRIS-REx – the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid is targeted to launch Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, to survey the surface, retrieve at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) of surface material, and return it to Earth for study. Analysis of the sample will reveal the earliest stages of the solar system’s evolution and the history of Bennu over the past 4.5 billion years.
Mission Description: The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to a near-Earth asteroid, called Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36), and bring at least a 2.1-ounce sample back to Earth for study. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.
About ULA: With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
Video Caption: NASA’s latest New Frontiers mission, OSIRIS-REx, will venture to a near-Earth asteroid to discover clues about the unique resources asteroids hold, processes that affect asteroids’ orbital paths and their potential for impacting Earth, and the origins of life in the solar system. In addition, OSIRIS-REx will collect a sample from the surface of the asteroid and return it to Earth for generations of scientists to study and analyze, making this the first American asteroid sample return mission and the largest sample returned from an extraterrestrial body since Apollo.
OSIRIS-REx’s launch window opens September 8, 2016.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA is gearing up to launch the United States’ first mission to sample an asteroid, with activities at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6, and culminating with the spacecraft launch Thursday, Sept. 8. Various activities are open to media and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket between 7:05 and 9:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 8 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, neighboring Kennedy in Florida.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.,Aug.19, 2016 (ULA) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the AFSPC-6 mission for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 Aug. 19 at 12:52 a.m. EDT. This is ULA’s seventh launch in 2016 and the 110th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
Video Caption: The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) will provide a three-dimenional map of asteroid Bennu’s shape, which will allow scientists to understand the context of the asteroid’s geography and the sample location. OLA is provided by the Canadian Space Agency in exchange for Canadian ownership of a portion of the returned asteroid sample.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space flight Center/Katrina Jackson
By Sarah Schlieder NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch September 2016 and travel to a near-Earth asteroid known as Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to Earth for study. The science team will be looking for something special. Ideally, the sample will come from a region in which the building blocks of life may be found.
Video Caption: The OSIRIS-REx mission, launching in September 2016, plans to return a sample of asteroid Bennu to Earth in 2023 so that scientists can study pristine material left over from the early solar system. Dante Lauretta, Principal Investigator for OSIRIS-REx, provides an overview of this asteroid sample return mission.
CENTENNIAL, Colo., April 29, 2016 (ULA PR) — ULA successfully delivered the OA-6 Cygnus spacecraft to its precise orbit as planned on March 22. During the launch, the system experienced a premature first stage shutdown. Atlas is a robust system. The Centaur upper stage compensated for the first stage anomaly, delivering Cygnus to a precise orbit, well within the required accuracy. The ULA engineering team has reviewed the data and has determined an anomaly with the RD-180 Mixture Ratio Control Valve (MRCV) assembly caused a reduction in fuel flow during the boost phase of the flight. In addition to analysis and testing, all RD-180 engines are being inspected.
Last Friday, in preparation for the MUOS-5 launch, the Atlas V completed the Launch Vehicle on Stand (LVOS) operation, erecting the Atlas V into the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. LVOS will allow configuration of the vehicle to support RD-180 engine inspections and confirm all engine components are ready for launch. The Atlas V MUOS-5 launch is targeted for early summer; a new launch date has not been secured on the Eastern Range. The impact to the remainder of the Atlas V manifest is in review with new launch dates being coordinated with our customers. All missions manifested for 2016 are expected to be successfully executed by the end of the year, including OSIRIS-REx, which will remain in early September to support its critical science window.