NASA set to construct probe due to visit asteroid in 2018
NASA's team which will be conducting the first US 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.
Gordon Johnston, OSIRIS-REx program executive at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, said this is the final step for a NASA mission to go from paper to product, asserting 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.
(Posted on 11-04-2014)
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