OSIRIS-REX Spacecraft Heading To Kennedy Space Center
The University of Arizona’s upcoming mission to an asteroid reaches a milestone this week when the vehicle built for it travels by airplane to Kennedy Space Center.
The spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin in Denver, where for the past 10 months, mission personnel have installed cameras built at UA along with other instruments. The equipment will be used to map the asteroid’s surface and take a sample to be brought to Earth.
The mission, known by the acronym OSIRIS-REx, is under supervision of UA’s Dante Lauretta.
“OSIRIS-REx is in great shape. Our spacecraft assembly is complete. We’ve been through our environmental test program. And we are getting ready to ship down to Florida to begin integrating with the launch vehicle," said Lauretta.
An Air Force transport plane on Friday will take the spacecraft from Colorado’s Buckley Air Force Base to Florida.
OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch Sept. 8 and arrive at the asteroid named Bennu in 2018. The plan calls for it to take a sample of the space rock two years later, and return to Earth in 2023. Scientists hope the sample reveals clues to the solar system’s origin.