Mission Status Update – Cruising Toward Asteroid Bennu

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OSIRIS-REx is stability outbound journey operations, en track to attainment in Aug of 2018 during a asteroid Bennu. The booster is now 29.6 million miles (47.6 million kilometers) from Earth and is executing a module designed to investigate and revoke a participation of H2O on a spacecraft.

The OSIRIS-REx booster is approaching to strech a asteroid end in 2018.
Credit: NASA

During slight in-flight contrast of a spacecraft’s thermal properties surpassing this year, a mission’s navigation group beheld an astonishing teenager acceleration of a booster when a Sample Return Capsule (SRC) was unprotected to sunlight. The idea group dynamic that this tiny bearing was caused by a outgassing of H2O that had been adsorbed by a SRC’s feverishness defense and backshell before launch.  Retention of H2O in blanketing and other materials – and a successive outgassing of this H2O – occurs with all spacecraft. For OSIRIS-REx, it was dynamic that when a SRC was unprotected to a Sun during a stretch of reduction than 1 Astronomical Unit (1 AU = approximately 93 million miles), this trapped H2O transient and imparted a tiny thrust. While this tiny bearing would not be a problem for other missions, a sobriety during a aim asteroid Bennu is low adequate that even this tiny volume of bearing could make orbital operations some-more formidable for OSIRIS-REx.

To improved know a outgassing effects on a spacecraft’s arena – and to bake out most of a remaining H2O before a booster arrives during Bennu – a OSIRIS-REx idea group designed an outgassing module for execution starting surpassing this fall. The choice of timing took into comment both a spacecraft’s vicinity to a Sun (less than 1 AU) and a fact that there were no scholarship activities designed during this period. The outgassing module is being run parallel with outbound journey operations and does not impact a timing of a spacecraft’s attainment during Bennu.

Starting in mid-October, a booster has been placed into several attitudes to display opposite tools of a SRC to approach object and trigger outgassing. Priority is given to a portions of a SRC that will face a Sun during asteroid vicinity operations. The idea group has been means to detect and magnitude a rate of outgassing during any opinion and has dynamic that H2O is being private as expected. The idea is to revoke a outgassing to a indicate where a booster can fly a designed baseline trajectories around Bennu but modifications, and rough indications uncover that a module is surpassing toward this goal. The module is scheduled to run by early Jan 2018.

Source: NASA

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