OSIRIS-REx mission will bring samples from the asteroid Bennu to Earth in September 2023

(ORDO NEWS) — The OSIRIS-REx mission to deliver samples from an asteroid is on its way to Earth. On September 21, the spacecraft turned on the engines for 30 seconds and corrected its course.

OSIRIS-REx is expected to complete its seven-year mission and deliver samples from asteroid Bennu on September 24, 2023.

NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) must approach Earth along a specific trajectory to deliver the sample capsule.

“Over the next year, we will gradually adjust the trajectory of OSIRIS-REx to bring it closer to Earth,” said Daniel Wibben, head of trajectory design and maneuvering at KinetX Inc. Wibben works closely with the Lockheed Martin team that operates the spacecraft.

The maneuver, performed last month, marked the first time that the OSIRIS-REx team changed the spacecraft’s trajectory since it left Bennu on May 10, 2021.

After this course correction, OSIRIS-REx will pass approximately 2,200 kilometers from Earth. A series of maneuvers that will begin in July 2023 will bring it even closer to the Earth’s surface, up to 250 kilometers.

This will be enough to release the sample capsule. The capsule will land at a US Air Force test site in Utah.

The Johnson Space Center in Houston has built a new laboratory specifically to store Bennu’s samples. Engineers and experts develop specialized tools and storage containers to keep specimens in pristine condition.

The Johnson Center will oversee the distribution of sample portions to scientists around the world. The researchers also plan to preserve a significant portion of the Bennu specimens for future generations to study.

NASA launched OSIRIS-REx on September 8, 2016. He arrived at Bennu in December 2018 and explored the asteroid for more than two years. On October 20, 2020, the spacecraft collected samples and placed them in a capsule.

After OSIRIS-REx delivers the capsule to Earth, it will embark on a mission called OSIRIS-APEX to the asteroid Apophis.

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