Thank you Reddit for a great AMA!

On April 15, 2014 I hosted my second Reddit – Ask Me Anything Session. The response from the Reddit community was great and many insightful questions were asked. Here are the top-10 questions from this event: #1 – I have trouble planning my weekend more than a day in advance. What are some of the […]

We celebrated the CDR with commemorative artwork and promotional items.

Yesterday marked the final day of the OSIRIS-REx Critical Design Review (CDR). This review began on April 1, 2014 and spanned nine days – with one day off in the middle. Over 60 OSIRIS-REx team members presented almost 1,600 PowerPoint charts in 56 hours. Since a CDR is required for all elements (i.e., spacecraft, instruments, […]

The Spitzer Space Telescope provided key information for planning OSIRIS-REx

The OSIRIS-REx mission has the unique challenge of visiting asteroid Bennu, characterizing it at global and local scales, then selecting the best site on the asteroid surface to acquire a sample for return to Earth. In order to minimize the risk of exploring an unknown world, OSIRIS-REx has recruited some of the best asteroid astronomers […]

In the original OSIRIS concept we planned to sample two asteroids before returning to Earth.

February 2014 marked my ten-year anniversary working on the OSIRIS-REx project. At this point, we have completed most of our subsystem design reviews and are diligently preparing for the Mission Critical Design Review the first week of April. I decided to celebrate this important milestone with a look back at how the overall design of […]

OSIRIS-REx CSI focuses on six-key elements as evidence of contamination events.

AKA – Contamination Science Investigation for OSIRIS-REx OSIRIS-REx is driven by the top-level science objective to return >60 g of pristine, carbonaceous regolith from asteroid Bennu.  In support of this objective, OSIRIS-REx has a team of sample scientists, based at Johnson Space Center (JSC), who are capable of analyzing material down to the atomic level. […]

Three maneuvers are required to deliver OSIRIS-REx to the surface of Bennu. Figure from Berry et al. 2013

Every spacecraft mission has at least one moment of terror. For OSIRIS-REx, mission success comes down to the five seconds when our Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) “kisses” the surface of asteroid Bennu to acquire a sample. Our TAG-based sampling approach is the result of over ten years of research and development efforts. To Land […]

The OSIRIS-REx team celebrates a successful test campaign with a group shot in reduced gravity.

This week, I was at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado for the Critical Design Review of our Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) and the Sample Return Capsule (SRC). The review went very well and Lockheed Martin has made great progress in the design of these units, as well as the detailed planning for […]

CNES is an important partner on OSIRIS-REx

OSIRIS-REx is an international effort, with team members from the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K., Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic. This diversity brings great strength to our team. I am pleased to report that last month NASA signed an international agreement with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, or CNES, the French space agency. This […]

The 70-m DSN antenna placed inside the Rose Bowl for scale – talk about making some noise!

In my last post, guest blogger Bashar Rizk described the three cameras of the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS). These imagers will provide unprecedented documentation of Bennu’s size, shape, geology, and environment. Have you ever wondered how those images, taken on board the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, get back down to Earth? Read on to learn about the […]

PolyCam is our spyglass used to spot Bennu from hundreds of thousands of miles and investigate fine-scale surface features

Guest Blogger: Bashar Rizk – OCAMS Instrument Scientist The OSIRIS-REx mission has the unique challenge of sending a spacecraft to the carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid Bennu, surveying the entire asteroid surface, reconnoitering potential sampling sites, then returning a sample to Earth. OSIRIS-REx must achieve all of these steps using only the observational assets he brings along. […]

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