[meteorite-list] Construction to Begin on OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Set to Visit Asteroid in 2018
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:38:29 -0700 (PDT)
April 10, 2014
Construction to Begin on NASA Spacecraft Set to Visit Asteroid in 2018
NASA's team that will conduct the first U.S. mission to collect samples
from an asteroid has been given the go-ahead to begin building the spacecraft,
flight instruments and ground system, and launch support facilities.
This determination was made Wednesday after a successful Mission Critical
Design Review (CDR) for NASA's Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource
Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). The CDR was held
at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Littleton, Colo., April 1-9.
An independent review board, comprised of experts from NASA and several
external organizations, met to review the system design.
"This is the final step for a NASA mission to go from paper to product,"
said Gordon Johnston, OSIRIS-REx program executive at NASA Headquarters,
Washington, DC. "This confirms that the final design is ready to start
the build-up towards launch."
OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2016, rendezvous with
the asteroid Bennu in 2018 and return a sample of it to Earth in 2023.
The spacecraft carries five instruments that will remotely evaluate the
surface of Bennu. After more than a year of asteroid reconnaissance, the
spacecraft will collect samples of at least 2 ounces (60 grams) and return
them to Earth for scientists to study.
"Successfully passing mission CDR is a major accomplishment, but the hard
part is still in front of us -- building, integrating and testing the
flight system in support of a tight planetary launch window," said Mike
Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
in Greenbelt, Md.
Key mission objectives focus on finding answers to basic questions about
the composition of the very early solar system and the source of organic
materials and water that made life possible on Earth. The mission will
also aid NASA?s asteroid initiative and support the agency's efforts to
understand the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects
and characterize those suitable for future asteroid exploration missions.
The initiative brings together the best of NASA's science, technology
and human exploration efforts to achieve President Obama's goal of sending
humans to an asteroid by 2025.
"The OSIRIS-REx team has consistently demonstrated its ability to present
a comprehensive mission design that meets all requirements within the
resources provided by NASA," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator
from the University of Arizona, Tucson. "Mission CDR was no exception.
This is a great team. I know we will build a flight and ground system
that is up to the challenges of this ambitious mission."
In January, NASA invited people around the world to submit their names
to be etched on a microchip aboard the spacecraft. After submitting their
name, participants are able to download and print a certificate documenting
their participation in the OSIRIS-REx mission. The campaign is open until
September 30, 2014.
Goddard Space Flight Center will provide overall mission management, systems
engineering, and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Lockheed
Martin Space Systems in Denver will build the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is
the third mission in the agency's New Frontiers Program. NASA's Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages New Frontiers for the
agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The University of
Arizona leads OSIRIS-REx and provides the camera system and science processing
and operations center.
For more information about the OSIRIS-REx mission, visit:
To participate in "Messages to Bennu," go to:
dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov
Nancy Neal Jones
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
nancy.n.jones at nasa.gov
Received on Thu 10 Apr 2014 01:38:29 PM PDT