An Atlas V rocket traced a blazing arc into a Florida sky Thursday dusk to send a little robotic path-finder on a approach to an asteroid on a goal that scientists expect will exhibit answers to some of a simple questions about a solar system.
“Tonight is a night for celebration, we are on a approach to an asteroid,” pronounced Ellen Stofan, NASA’s arch scientist. “We’re going to be responding some of a many elemental questions that NASA works on.”
Lifting off during 7:05 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 41 during NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a rocket’s launch was timed to put a OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, brief for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer, on an accurate march to strech a asteroid Bennu in Aug 2018.
Burning a multiple of polished kerosene called RP-1 and glass oxygen and carrying a singular solid-fueled booster, a initial theatre of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 pushed a upholder by a unenlightened reduce layers of a atmosphere, afterwards a Centaur top theatre took over, moving OSIRIS-REx faster and higher. About 55 mins after launch, a asteroid sampling upholder distant from a glass oxygen and glass hydrogen fueled second theatre rocket to fly free.
OSIRIS-REx will make a pitch by Earth subsequent year to benefit a sobriety support that will accelerate it even faster to strech Bennu, where it will eventually go into orbit. Once orbiting a asteroid, OSIRIS-REx will spend dual years contemplating it in rare detail.
Then, in a robotic first, a upholder will strech out a automatic arm and take a representation from a asteroid. Though a representation will be little – usually a integrate of pounds during many – it will be a time plug of sorts recording a solar system’s creation. With a representation stored safely, a upholder will speed divided from a asteroid on a trail behind to Earth.
“This represents a hopes and dreams and blood, persperate and tears of thousands of people who have been operative on this for years,” pronounced Dante Lauretta, a principal questioner for OSIRIS-REx during a University of Arizona. “I can’t tell we how anxious we was this evening, meditative of a people who played a partial in this.”
Nearing Earth’s atmosphere 7 years from now, a plug containing a representation and versed with a feverishness defense will detach from a categorical OSIRIS-REx upholder and enter Earth’s atmosphere. A parachute will delayed a plug down so it can be retrieved, afterwards researchers will go about examining a changed load taken directly from an asteroid.
In progressing NASA missions, little samples of a comet and atoms collected from a solar breeze have been taken and returned to Earth. Hundreds of pounds of rocks from a moon were returned to Earth by astronauts during 6 Apollo missions, a final holding place in 1969. All these samples are curated by NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, that also will residence a infancy of element that OSIRIS-REx collects; a few percent of a representation will be sent for curation by general partners, a Canadian and Japanese space agencies.
This moody is a third of NASA’s New Frontiers Program. The initial dual – New Horizons and Juno – have already done contributions to a investigate of a outdoor solar complement and are still operating.
“We keep attack it out of a park and tonight we strike it off a planet,” pronounced Jim Green, executive of NASA’s Planetary Science division.
NASA’s Launch Services Program, formed during NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, managed a launch for a agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland will yield altogether goal management, systems engineering and reserve and goal declaration for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta is a mission’s principal questioner during a University of Arizona. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built a spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is a third goal in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for a agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.