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OSIRIS-REx - Wikipedia


Artist's rendering of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft

Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith

Mission type Asteroid sample return[1]

Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2016-055A (
SATCAT no. 41757
Website (
Mission Planned: 7 years
duration                505 days at asteroid
Elapsed: 2 years, 3 months, 1 day, 20 hours

Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin
Launch mass 2,110 kg (4,650 lb)[2]
Dry mass 880 kg (1,940 lb)[2]
Dimensions 2.44 × 2.44 × 3.15 m (8 × 8 × 10.33 ft)[2]
1,226 to 3,000 W[2]

Start of mission
Launch date 8 September 2016, 23:05 UTC[3]

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Atlas V 411, AV-067[3]

Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-41
Contractor United Launch Alliance

End of mission
Landing date Planned: 24 September 2023, 15:00 UTC[4]
Landing site Utah Test and Training Range[4]

Flyby of Earth
Closest 22 September 2017[2]
101955 Bennu orbiter
31 December 2018 [5]

3 March 2021 (planned)[2]
Sample mass 0.1–2.0 kg (0.13–4.4 lb)[4]
OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite
OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter
OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer
OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer
Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer
TAGSAM Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism

New Frontiers program

e OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is

a NASA asteroid study and sample-return mission.[6] e mission's main goal is to obtain a sample of at least 60
grams (2.1 oz) from 101955 Bennu, a carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid, and return the sample to Earth for a
detailed analysis. e material returned is expected to enable scientists to learn more about the formation and
evolution of the Solar System, its initial stages of planet formation, and the source of organic compounds that led
to the formation of life on Earth.[7] If successful, OSIRIS-REx will be the first U.S. spacecra to return samples from
an asteroid.

OSIRIS-REx was launched on 8 September 2016, and reached the proximity of Bennu on 3 December 2018,[8]
where it began analyzing its surface for a target sample area over the next several months. It is expected to return

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with its sample to Earth on 24 September 2023.[9]

e cost of the mission is approximately US$800 million[10] not including the Atlas V launch vehicle, which is
about US$183.5 million.[11] It is the third planetary science mission selected in the New Frontiers program, aer
Juno and New Horizons. e principal investigator is Dante Laurea from the University of Arizona.

Arrival and survey
Sample acquisition

Science objectives

See also
External links

Overall management, engineering and navigation for the mission is provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, while the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory provides principal science operations
and Lockheed Martin Space Systems built the spacecra and provides mission operations.[2] e science team
includes members from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and Italy.[12]

Aer traveling for approximately two years, the spacecra rendezvoused with asteroid 101955 Bennu in December
2018[13] and began 505 days of surface mapping at a distance of approximately 5 km (3.1 mi).[1] Results of that
mapping will be used by the mission team to select the site from which to take a sample of the asteroid's
surface.[14] en a close approach (without landing) will be aempted to allow extension of a robotic arm to
gather the sample.[15]

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An asteroid was chosen as the target of study because an asteroid is

a 'time capsule' from the birth of our Solar System.[16] In particular,
101955 Bennu was selected because of the availability of pristine
carbonaceous material, a key element in organic molecules
necessary for life as well as representative of maer from before the
formation of Earth. Organic molecules, such as amino acids, have
previously been found in meteorite and comet samples, indicating
that some ingredients necessary for life can be naturally synthesized
in outer space.[1]

Asteroid Bennu, imaged by the

OSIRIS-REx probe
(3 December 2018)

Following collection of material (from 60 grams to two

kilograms), the sample will be returned to Earth in a 46-
kilogram (101 lb) capsule similar to that which returned the OSIRIS-REx mission overview video
samples of comet 81P/Wild on the Stardust spacecra. e
return trip to Earth will be shorter and the capsule will land
with a parachute at the Utah Test and Training Range in September 2023 before being transported to the Johnson
Space Center for processing in a dedicated research facility.[1]

e acronym OSIRIS was chosen in reference to the ancient mythological Egyptian god Osiris, the underworld lord
of the dead. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped
at the legs and wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side.[17][18] Rex means 'king'
in Latin. His name was chosen for this mission as asteroid Bennu is a threatening Earth impactor, with an
estimated 1-in-1,800 chance of hiing Earth in the year 2170.[17]

e launch was on 8 September 2016 at 23:05 UTC on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 from Cape Canaveral
Space Launch Complex 41.[3] e 411 rocket configuration consists of a RD-180 powered first stage with a single
AJ-60A solid fuel booster, and a Centaur upper stage.[19] OSIRIS-REx separated from the launch vehicle 55 minutes
aer ignition.[2] e launch was declared "exactly perfect" by the mission's Principal Investigator, with no
anomalies worked before or during launch.[20]

OSIRIS-REx entered the cruise phase shortly aer separation from the launch vehicle, following successful solar
panel deployment, propulsion system initiation, and establishment of a communication link with Earth.[20] Its
hyperbolic escape speed from Earth was about 5.41 km/s (3.36 mi/s).[21] On 28 December 2016, the spacecra
successfully performed its first deep space maneuver to change its velocity by 431 m/s (1,550 km/h; 960 mph) using
354 kg (780 lb) of fuel.[22][23] An additional, smaller firing of its thrusters on 18 January further refined its course

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for an Earth gravity assist on 22 September 2017.[22] e

cruise phase lasted until its encounter with Bennu in
December 2018,[13] aer which it entered its science and
sample collection phase.[22]

During its cruise phase, OSIRIS-REx was used to search for a

class of near-Earth objects known as Earth-Trojan asteroids as
it passed through Sun–Earth L4 Lagrange point. Between 9
and 20 February 2017, the OSIRIS-REx team used the OSIRIS-REx launch video

spacecra's MapCam camera to search for the objects, taking

about 135 survey images each day for processing by scientists
at the University of Arizona. e search would be beneficial
even if no objects were found, as it closely resembled the
operation required as the spacecra approached Bennu,
searching for natural satellites and other potential hazards.

On 12 February 2017, while 673 million km (418 million mi)

from Jupiter, the PolyCam instrument aboard OSIRIS-REx Animation of OSIRIS-REx 's trajectory
successfully imaged the giant planet and three of its moons, from 9 September 2016 to
Callisto, Io, and Ganymede.[25] 3 December 2018
 OSIRIS-REx · 101955 Bennu ·
Arrival and survey
On 3 December 2018, NASA affirmed that OSIRIS-REx had
matched the speed and orbit of Bennu at a distance of about 19
kilometers (12 mi), effectively reaching the asteroid. Over the
next months, OSIRIS-REx will perform closer passes of the
Bennu surface, initially at about 6.5   km (4.0   mi) through
December to further refine the shape and orbit of Bennu. It
will then enter orbit around the asteroid on 31 December
2018[5] at about 1.4 km (0.87 mi) to start its extensive remote
sensing campaign for the selection of a sample site.[8] Animation of OSIRIS-REx 's trajectory
around 101955 Bennu from
Rehearsals will be performed before the sampling event.
26 December 2018 to
20 March 2021
 OSIRIS-REx ·  101955 Bennu
Sample acquisition
For the sampling event, the solar arrays will be raised into a
Y-shaped configuration to minimize the chance of dust accumulation during contact and provide more ground
clearance in case the spacecra tips over (up to 45°) during contact.[12] e descent will be very slow to minimize
thruster firings prior to contact in order to reduce the likelihood of asteroid surface contamination by unreacted
hydrazine propellant. Contact with the surface of Bennu will be detected using accelerometers, and the impact
force will be dissipated by a spring in the TAGSAM arm.

Upon surface contact by the TAGSAM instrument, a burst of nitrogen gas will be released, which will blow regolith

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particles smaller than 2 cm (0.8 in) into the sampler head at the
end of the robotic arm. A five-second timer will limit collection
time to mitigate the chance of a collision. Aer the timer
expires, the back-away maneuver will initiate a safe departure
from the asteroid.[12]

OSIRIS-REx will then halt the dri away from the asteroid in
case it is necessary to return for another sampling aempt. e
spacecra will use images and spinning maneuvers to verify Artist's concept of TAGSAM
the sample has been acquired as well as determine its mass and instrument in operation
verify it is in excess of the required 60 grams (2.1 oz).[12] In
the event of a failed sampling aempt, the spacecra will
return for another try. ere is enough nitrogen gas for three aempts.[2]

In addition to the bulk sampling mechanism, contact pads on the end of the sampling head will passively collect
dust grains smaller than 1 mm, upon contact with the asteroid. ese pads are made from tiny loops of stainless

Aer the sampling aempt, the Sample-Return Capsule (SRC) lid will be opened to allow the sampler head to be
stowed. e arm will then be retracted into its launch configuration, and the SRC lid will be closed and latched
preparing to return to Earth.[27]

On 24 September 2023 the OSIRIS-REx return capsule will re-enter Earth's atmosphere and land at the Air Force's
Utah Test and Training Range.[28] e sample will be curated by NASA's Astromaterials Research and Exploration
Science Directorate (ARES) and at Japan's Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center.[28][29] e sample material
from the asteroid will be distributed to requesting organisations worldwide by ARES.[30]

Science objectives
e science objectives of the mission are:[31]

1. Return and analyze a sample of pristine

carbonaceous asteroid regolith in an amount
sufficient to study the nature, history, and
distribution of its constituent minerals and organic
2. Map the global properties, chemistry, and
mineralogy of a primitive carbonaceous asteroid to
characterize its geologic and dynamic history and
provide context for the returned samples. Sample-return capsule as seen
3. Document the texture, morphology, geochemistry, by StowCam
and spectral properties of the regolith at the
sampling site in situ at scales down to millimeters.
4. Measure the Yarkovsky effect (a thermal force on the object) on a potentially hazardous
asteroid and constrain the asteroid properties that contribute to this effect.
5. Characterize the integrated global properties of a primitive carbonaceous asteroid to

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allow for direct comparison with ground-based telescopic data of the entire asteroid
Telescopic observations have helped define the orbit of 101955 Bennu, a near-Earth object with a mean diameter in
the range of 480 to 511 meters (1,575 to 1,677 ).[32] It completes an orbit of the Sun every 436.604 days (1.2 years).
is orbit takes it close to the Earth every six years. Although the orbit is reasonably well known, scientists
continue to refine it. It is critical to know the orbit of Bennu because recent calculations produced a cumulative
probability of 1 in 1410 (or 0.071%) of impact with Earth in the period 2169 to 2199.[33] One of the mission
objectives is to refine understanding of non-gravitational effects (such as the Yarkovsky effect) on this orbit, and
the implications of those effects for Bennu's collision probability. Knowing Bennu's physical properties will be
critical for future scientists to understand when developing an asteroid impact avoidance mission.[34]

Telescopic observations have revealed some basic properties of Bennu. ey indicate that it is very dark and is
classified as a B-type asteroid, a sub-type of the carbonaceous C-type asteroids. Such asteroids are considered
"primitive", having undergone lile geological change from their time of formation.


3D model of OSIRIS-REx OSIRIS-REx instrument deck

Dimensions: Length 2.4 m (8 ft), width 2.4 m (8 ft), height 3.1 m (10.33 ft) [2]
Width with solar arrays deployed: 6.2 m (20.25 ft)[2]
Power: Two solar arrays generate 1226–3000 watts, depending on the spacecraft's
distance from the Sun. Energy is stored in Li-ion batteries.[2]
Propulsion system: Based on a hydrazine monopropellant system developed for the Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter, carrying 1,230 kg (2,710 lb) of propellant and helium. [35]
The Sample-Return Capsule (SRC) will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere for a parachute
assisted landing. The capsule with encased samples will be retrieved from Earth's surface
and studied, as was done with the Stardust mission.

In addition to its telecommunication equipment, the spacecra will carry a suite of instruments that will study the
asteroid in many wavelengths,[36] as well as image the asteroid, and retrieve a physical sample to return to Earth.
e Planetary Society coordinated a campaign to invite interested persons to have their names or artwork on the
mission's spirit of exploration saved on a microchip now carried in the spacecra.[37]


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e OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) consists of the PolyCam,

the MapCam, and the SamCam.[38] Together they acquire
information on asteroid Bennu by providing global mapping, sample site reconnaissance and characterization,
high-resolution imaging, and records of the sample acquisition.[39]

PolyCam, an 8-inch (20 cm) telescope, acquires images with increasingly higher

resolution as the spacecraft approaches the asteroid.
MapCam searches for satellites and outgassing plumes. It maps the asteroid in 4 different
colors, informs the model of Bennu's shape and provides high resolution imaging of the
potential sample sites.
SamCam continuously documents the sample acquisitions.

e OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) is a scanning and LIDAR instrument that will provide high resolution
topographical information throughout the mission.[38] e information received by OLA creates global
topographic maps of Bennu, local maps of candidate sample sites, ranging in support of other instruments, and
support navigation and gravity analyses.

OLA scans the surface of Bennu at specific intervals to rapidly map the entire surface of the asteroid to achieve its
primary objective of producing local and global topographic maps. e data collected by OLA will also be used to
develop a control network relative to the center of mass of the asteroid and to enhance and refine gravitational
studies of Bennu.

OLA has a single common receiver and two complementary transmier assemblies that enhance the resolution of
the information brought back. OLA's high-energy laser transmier is used for ranging and mapping from 1 to
7.5 km (0.6 to 4.7 mi). e low-energy transmier is used for ranging and imaging from 0.5 to 1 km (0.3 to 0.6 mi).
e repetition rate of these transmiers sets the data acquisition rate of OLA. Laser pulses from both the low and
high energy transmiers are directed onto a movable scanning mirror, which is co-aligned with the field of view of
the receiver telescope limiting the effects of background solar radiation. Each pulse provides target range, azimuth,
elevation, received intensity and a time-tag.

OLA was funded by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and was built by MacDonald, Dewiler and Associates at
Brampton, Ontario, Canada.[40] OLA was delivered for integration with the spacecra on 17 November 2015.[41]

e OSIRIS-REx Visible and IR Spectrometer (OVIRS) is a spectrometer, which measures light to provide mineral
and organic spectral maps and local spectral information of candidate sample sites.[38] It also provides full-disc
asteroid spectral data, global spectral maps (20 m resolution), and spectra of the sample site (blue to near-infrared,
400–4,300 nm, with a spectral resolution of 7.5–22 nm).[42] ese data will be used in concert with OTES spectra
to guide sample-site selection. ese spectral ranges and resolving powers are sufficient to provide surface maps of
mineralogical and molecular components including carbonates, silicates, sulfates, oxides, adsorbed water and a
wide range of organic compounds. It provides at least two spectral samples per resolution element taking full
advantage of the spectral resolution.

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e OSIRIS-REx ermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES) provides
mineral and thermal emission spectral maps and local spectral
information of candidate sample sites by collecting thermal infrared
data from 4–50 µm.[38] (see also thermal infrared spectroscopy)

OTES provides full-disc Bennu spectral data, global spectral maps,

and local sample site spectral information used to characterize the
global, regional, and local mineralogic composition and thermal
emission from the asteroid surface. e wavelength range, spectral
resolution, and radiometric performance are sufficient to resolve and
identify the key vibrational absorption features of silicate,
carbonate, sulfate, phosphate, oxide, and hydroxide minerals. OTES
is also used to measure the total thermal emission from Bennu in
support of the requirement to measure emied radiation globally.
Based on the performance of Mini-TES in the dusty surface
environment of Mars, OTES was designed to be resilient to extreme
dust contamination on the optical elements.

e Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) will provide an X-ray spectroscopy map of Bennu to constrain
the element abundances. It complements core OSIRIS-REx mission science.[38] REXIS is a collaborative
development by four groups within Massachuses Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, with the
potential to involve more than 100 students throughout the process. REXIS is based on flight heritage hardware,
thereby minimizing elements of technical risk, schedule risk, and cost risk.

REXIS is a coded aperture so X-ray (0.3–7.5 keV) telescope that images X-ray fluorescence line emission produced
by the interaction of solar X-rays and the solar wind with the regolith of Bennu. Images are formed with 21
arcminute resolution (4.3 m spatial resolution at a distance of 700 m). Imaging is achieved by correlating the
detected X-ray image with a 64 x 64 element random mask (1.536 mm pixels). REXIS will store each X-ray event
data in order to maximize the data storage usage and to minimize the risk. e pixels will be addressed in 64 x 64
bins and the 0.3–7.5 keV range will be covered by five broad bands and 11 narrow line bands. A 24 s resolution time
tag will be interleaved with the event data to account for Bennu rotation. Images will be reconstructed on the
ground aer downlink of the event list. Images are formed simultaneously in 16 energy bands centered on the
dominant lines of abundant surface elements from O-K (0.5 keV) to Fe-Kß (7 keV) as well the representative
continuum. During orbital phase 5B, a 21-day orbit 700 m from the surface of Bennu, a total of at least 133
events/asteroid pixel/energy band are expected under 2 keV; enough to obtain significant constraints on element
abundances at scales larger than 10 m.

e sample-return system, called Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), consists of a sampler
head with an articulated 3.35-meter (11 ) arm.[2][38] An on-board nitrogen source will support up to three

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separate sampling aempts for a minimum total amount of 60 grams

(2.1 oz) of sample. e surface contact pads will also collect fine-
grained material.

Highlights of the TAGSAM instrument and technique include:

Slowly approach surface at 0.2 meters per second

(0.66 ft/s)[43]
Contact within 25 meters (82 ft) of selected location
TAGSAM arm test before launch
OCAMS documents sampling at 1 Hz
Collect samples in less than five seconds, direct
nitrogen (N2) annular jet fluidizes regolith, surface-contact pad captures surface sample
Verify bulk sample collection via spacecraft inertia change; surface sample by imaging
sampler head
Sampler head stored in Sample-Return Capsule (SRC) and returned to Earth

OSIRIS-REx II was a 2012 mission concept to replicate the original spacecra for a double mission, with the second
vehicle collecting samples from the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. It was stated that this mission would
be both the quickest and least expensive way to get samples from the moons.[44][45]


OSIRIS-REx imaged OSIRIS-REx's first Super-resolution view

the Earth-Moon images of target of asteroid Bennu
system during an asteroid Bennu from from OSIRIS-REx on
engineering test in August 2018 October 29, 2018
January 2018. from a distance of
205 miles (330 km)

See also
List of asteroids targeted for spacecraft visitation

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42. Simon-Miller, A. A.; Reuter, D. C. (2013). OSIRIS-REx OVIRS: A Scalable Visible to Near-IR
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External links
OSIRIS-REx website ( at NASA
OSIRIS-REx website ( at the University of Arizona

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