Since the launch of NASA’s first asteroid sampling mission, OSIRIS-REx, on September 8, 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the explorer has hit all of its projected milestones without a hitch.
OSIRIS-REx Outbound Cruise Trajectory Video:
OSIRIS-REx is currently 8 months and 17 days (as of this publishing) into a 7-year journey to the asteroid Bennu and back that could potentially reveal clues about the origin of life as we know it. Below are some of the notable milestones it has reached thus far.
NOTABLE MILESTONES REACHED:
September 8, 2016 at 7:05 pm EDT – OSIRIS-REx launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida
October 7, 2016 at 1:00 pm EDT – OSIRIS-REx fires its Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) thrusters to adjust its trajectory for the first time.
On December 28, 2016, OSIRIS-REx successfully executes its first Deep Space Maneuver putting it on course for an Earth flyby in September 2017.
On February 9, 2017 OSIRIS-REx begins its search for Earth Trojan Asteroids using the spacecraft’s MapCam camera which will take 135 images per observation day.
On February 14, 2017 OSIRIS-REx takes an image of Jupiter and three of its moons.
On March 24, 2017 OSIRIS-REx concluded its two-week search for Earth-Trojan asteroids to no avail. However, the spacecraft’s camera and instruments operated flawlessly and demonstrated that it could capture objects two magnitudes dimmer than originally expected.
As OSIRIS-REx continues on its potentially ground breaking discovery mission, it will keep sending information and images back to Earth for scientists to analyze. For more information on its progress and other news, check out the dedicated OSIRIS-REx website.