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September 5-11, 2016 / Vol 35, No 36 / Hawai`i Island, USA

2 Sep 2016, 02:05 UTC
September 5-11, 2016 / Vol 35, No 36 / Hawai`i Island, USA
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

OSIRIS-REx to Launch for Asteroid Bennu Rendezvous and Sample Return

First NASA Asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx is set to launch on United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket in the extraordinary asymmetrical 411 configuration with a single strap on booster. Lift off is scheduled for September 8 between 19:05 and 21:05 (EDT) from Cape Canaveral AFS in Florida. The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security – Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) should achieve solar orbit with a hyperbolic escape velocity of 5.4 km/s. The 7-year journey includes: Earth flyby gravity-assist on Sep 23, 2017; approach and arrival starting August 17, 2018; touch-and-go surface sampling maneuver July 4, 2020; return cruise main engine burn March 3, 2021; sample return capsule landing Sep 24, 2023. Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta of University of Arizona hopes to advance understanding of how planets form and how life began, in addition to learning more about asteroids that could impact Earth. Bennu is a rare B-type asteroid that is classified as primitive and carbon-rich with orbital period of 1.2 years, rotation period of 4.3 hours and average speed of over 101,000 km/h. It is about 500 meters in diameter and is expected to have organic compounds and water-bearing minerals ...

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