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.
This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 images collected on Dec. 2 2018 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles. Photo: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
During December, the spacecraft completed flyovers of Bennu’s north pole, equatorial region, and south pole, getting as close as nearly 4 miles above Bennu during each flyover. The mission’s navigation used the preliminary survey to calculate Bennu’s mass and spin rate. This information is used to to plan the orbital operations around Bennu.
Bennu Height Landmark ComparisonCredit: University of Arizona
Size Comparison: OSIRIS-REx vs. BennuCredit: University of Arizona
Based in Simi Valley California, the Space Navigation and Flight Dynamics (SNAFD) practice of KinetX, Inc. provides mission design and navigation services for a variety of deep space missions. In a Tweet this morning, they confirmed: Orbit insertion burn design has been finalized: OSIRIS REx will fire its thrusters to enter orbit ...