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:
The launch of OSIRIS-REx as seen from Kennedy Space Center’s press site. Photo credit: Bill Jelen / We Report Space
August 17, 2018: Approach phase begins. Spacecraft is 1.4 million miles from Bennu. First photographs taken by OSIRIS-REx of Bennu
September 11-12: Dust plume searchto make sure it is safe to enter asteroid vicinity.
October 1: Asteroid approach maneuver 1
October 15: Asteroid approach maneuver 2
October 17-26: TAGSAM Testing the sample acquisition mechanism
October 23-28: Natural satellite search to find anything as small as 10cm orbiting Bennu
October 29: Asteroid approach maneuver 3
November 12: Asteroid approach maneuver 4
November 12-December 2: Shape model observations from high resolution imaging
December 3: Spacecraft arrival at Bennu – at a point 20km from Bennu, the spacecraft will begin proximity operations
December 4-17: Five flybys
December 27: Oribital Phase A begins
December 31: Oribital Insertion
After launch on September 8, 2016 OSIRIS-REx did a flyby of the Earth for a gravity assist in September 2017. Michael Moreau, OSIRIS-REx ...