OSIRIS-Rex, NASA’s spaceship set for an ultimate asteroid-sampling run through

OSIRIS-Rex, NASA’s spaceship, is set for its ultimate exercise before getting in touch with the Bennu asteroid. 

The OSIRIS-Rex spaceship has been making rounds since 2018, and it is the first sampling spaceship of NASA. The exploration is planned to exercise its contact series for a subsequent time on August 11 this year. 

During the exercise, the spaceship will run through the touch-and-go sample-collection occasion related to the April 14 checkpoint run through an operation where it exercised its two drills of the drop. However, this time, the spaceship will add a third drill by the name ‘matchpoint burn,’ and then fly closer to Nightingale, its sample location. 

The OSIRIS-Rex spaceship will fly in tandem together with Bennu’s rotation for its first time as part of the checkpoint burn. The run-through will pave the way for another opportunity for the group to exercise exploration of the spaceship through the fall flights. The group will also get the chance to test the imaging ability of the spaceship, its navigation, and its different systems.

During the August 11 run-through, the OSIRIS-Rex spaceship (which costs $800 million) operation will carry out several various exercises. Flying at an average velocity of 0.2 mph (0.3 kph), the space ship will fire its thrusters on three different occasions as it falls back to the facade of the asteroid. The first will pull the spaceship out of its 0.6-mile-high (1 kilometer) trajectory. 

Other objectives in the run through consist of; expansion of the robotic sampling arm of the spacecraft, collection of pictures meant for its autonomous navigation structure, and setting its solar panels in a position away from the asteroid facade.  

When the OSIRIS-Rex spaceship arrives at the height of 410 feet (125 meters), it will carry out the checkpoint burn and then run down faster as it heads towards the surface of Bennu asteroid for eight minutes. After the spaceship has attained a height of 50 meters above the asteroid, it will fire its thrusters for a third period to execute the matchpoint burn. As a result, the descending speed will reduce and line up with the Bennu asteroid rotation.

The OSIRS-Rex spaceship will reach a height of 40 meters above the test area before descending back for orbit with a back-away burn. If the run through exercise becomes successful, the OSIRIS-Rex will remain in its trajectory around the asteroid until it flies back to the surface of the asteroid on October 20 this year.