Washington, April 11 ANI | 9 months ago

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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