NASA’s Asteroid-Bound Spacecraft to Slingshot Past Earth

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NASA’s asteroid representation lapse mission, OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer), will pass about 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) above Earth only before 12:52 p.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 22. Using Earth as a slingshot, a booster will accept an support to finish a tour to a asteroid Bennu.

OSIRIS-REx is endeavour a severe goal to revisit a near-Earth asteroid, consult a surface, collect samples and broach them safely behind to Earth. This is a initial NASA goal to try such an undertaking. The booster is median by a two-year outbound journey, and now OSIRIS-REx needs an additional boost to successfully event with Bennu.

This artist’s judgment shows a OSIRIS-REx booster flitting by Earth.
Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona

Bennu’s circuit around a Sun is slanted 6 degrees in comparison to Earth’s. The sobriety support will change OSIRIS-REx’s arena to put a booster on a march to compare a asteroid’s trail and speed.

“The Earth Gravity Assist is a crafty proceed to pierce a booster onto Bennu’s orbital craft regulating Earth’s possess sobriety instead of expending fuel,” pronounced Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal questioner during a University of Arizona, Tucson.

The group has already done mixed adjustments to a spacecraft’s trail given launch on Sept. 8, 2016. The largest was a low space scheme on Dec. 28, 2016, that altered a speed and trail of a booster to aim Earth for a flyby. There have also been 3 arena improvement maneuvers – one on Oct. 7, 2016, one on Jan. 18, 2017, and another on Aug. 23, 2017 (30 days before a sobriety assist) – that serve polished a spacecraft’s arena in credentials for a flyby.

The navigation group comprises employees from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and KinetX Aerospace. KinetX Aerospace navigation group members devise and lift out all OSIRIS-REx maneuvers with a Lockheed Martin booster operations group during a Lockheed Martin Waterton Campus in Littleton, Colorado. To scrupulously aim a Earth Gravity Assist, a navigation group calculates any compulsory volume of change in a spacecraft’s march and speed. This information is afterwards translated by a operations group into commands that are uploaded to a booster and executed by banishment a spacecraft’s rocket engines.

After roving roughly 600 million miles, OSIRIS-REx will proceed Earth during a speed of about 19,000 mph. The booster will fly over Australia before reaching a closest indicate to Earth over Antarctica, only south of Cape Horn, Chile.

“For about an hour, NASA will be out of hit with a booster as it passes over Antarctica,” pronounced Mike Moreau, a moody dynamics complement lead during Goddard. “OSIRIS-REx uses a Deep Space Network to promulgate with Earth, and a booster will be too low relations to a southern setting to be in perspective with possibly a Deep Space tracking hire during Canberra, Australia, or Goldstone, California.”

NASA will recover communication with OSIRIS-REx during 1:40 p.m. EDT, roughly 50 mins after closest approach.

At 4:52 p.m. EDT, 4 hours after closest approach, OSIRIS-REx will start scholarship observations of Earth and a Moon to regulate a instruments.

During a sobriety assist, OSIRIS-REx will pass by a segment of space that is inhabited by Earth-orbiting satellites, and NASA has taken precautions to safeguard a reserve of a booster as it flies by this area. The mission’s moody dynamics group designed a tiny scheme that, if necessary, could be executed a day before closest proceed to change a spacecraft’s arena somewhat to equivocate a intensity collision between OSIRIS-REx and a satellite.

“A few weeks after a flyby we will consider a effusive arena on a proceed to Bennu,” pronounced Dan Wibben, a scheme pattern and arena research lead from KinetX Aerospace. “There is a scheme designed in box we need to adjust a circuit only a tiny bit to pull a booster behind on track.”

In late Jun of 2018, a group will perform another low space scheme to serve aim a event with Bennu. Then commencement in Oct 2018, a array of asteroid proceed maneuvers will be executed to delayed a booster with honour to a asteroid.

Once OSIRIS-REx event with Bennu in late 2018, a booster will start contemplating a surface.

“The asteroid’s tiny distance and low sobriety creates OSIRIS-REx a many severe goal that we have worked on,” pronounced Peter Antreasian, a navigation group arch from KinetX Aerospace. “At roughly 500 meters in diameter, Bennu will be a smallest intent that NASA has orbited.”

Source: NASA

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