KENNEDY SPACE CENTER: At a pair of media events leading up to the September 8, 2016 launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, we had a chance to discuss the mission profile with Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta. Lauretta is a Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. He is the P.I. for OSIRIS-REx and the guy who coined the acronym: Origins, Spectral Integration, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith EXplorer. True, the goal of the spacecraft is to send a 2 ounce to 4 pound sample of asteroid Bennu back to Earth on September 24, 2023. But a lot has to happen between now and that point.
Representatives from NASA, United Launch Alliance, Lockheed Martin and the University of Arizona discuss the upcoming OSIRIS-REx launch at Kennedy Space Center. Photo credit: Jared Haworth / We Report Space
Years 1 – 2
After the launch on September 8, 2016, the spacecraft will do an orbit around the sun and then do a gravity assist around the Earth. Dante Lauretta explains: “We do a one-year cruise back to the Earth for an Earth-gravity assist maneuver. That will be a nice event, because we will get cool pictures of ...