NASA To Hold Asteroid Mission Briefings, Launch

NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid, will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, arriving in 2018, to survey the surface, retrieve at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) of surface material, and return it to Earth in 2023 for study. Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid, will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, arriving in 2018, to survey the surface, retrieve at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) of surface material, and return it to Earth in 2023 for study. Image Credit: NASA

NASA is gearing up to launch the United States’ first mission to sample an asteroid, with activities at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida beginning Tuesday, September 6, and culminating with the spacecraft launch Thursday, September 8. Various activities are open to media and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket between 7:05 and 9:05 p.m. EDT September 8 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, neighboring Kennedy in Florida.

The full schedule of events and NASA TV coverage is as follows:

Tuesday, September 6

10:30 a.m. – Commercial Crew Program media tour

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will provide media with an update on the progress being made by the agency’s commercial crew partners. Media wishing to participate must arrive at the Kennedy Press Site by 9:45 a.m. to board buses, and will return to the Press Site by 11:50 a.m.

1 p.m. – Prelaunch mission briefing at the Kennedy Press Site

This briefing will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Social media followers can ask questions during this event using #askNASA. Briefing participants are:

  • Geoffrey Yoder, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington

  • Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson

  • Tim Dunn, NASA launch manager at Kennedy

  • Scott Messer, program manager for NASA missions at ULA in Centennial, Colorado

  • Michael Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland

  • Rich Kuhns, OSIRIS-REx program manager for Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver

  • Clay Flinn, launch weather officer for the 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

  • 2 p.m. – OSIRIS-REx mission science briefing at the Kennedy Press Site

    This briefing will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Social media followers can ask questions during this event using #askNASA. Briefing participants are:

  • Christina Richey, OSIRIS-REx deputy program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington

  • Jason Dworkin, OSIRIS-REx project scientist at Goddard
    Daniella DellaGiustina, OSIRIS-REx lead image processing scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson

  • 2:45 p.m. – Ka-Band Objects Observation and Monitoring (KaBOOM) tour

    Media will have an opportunity to tour the antenna site and talk to Principal Investigator Barry Geldzahler about this high-power, higher-resolution radar system being developed to characterize near-Earth objects, such as asteroids and comets, 100,000 times more accurately than optical telescopes. Buses board for this tour at 2:45 p.m. and return to the Press Site by 4:40 p.m.

    Wednesday, September 7

    8 a.m. – Atlas V Launch Vehicle Rollout

    Media are invited to cover the rollout of the Atlas V rocket from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad. Media should be at Kennedy’s Press Site at 8 a.m. for transportation to the viewing location near Space Launch Complex 41. Media will be returned to the Press Site by 11:30 a.m.

    Noon to 1 p.m. — OSIRIS-REx Talk from Kennedy’s Operations Support Building II (OSB II)

    NASA will host a discussion with representatives from the mission’s science and engineering teams that includes an overview of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and the science behind the mission. Social media followers can ask questions during this event using #askNASA. This event will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

    1 to 2 p.m. – Uncovering the Secrets of Asteroids

    During this panel at OSB II, NASA scientists will discuss asteroids, how they relate to the origins of our solar system, and the search for life beyond Earth. Social media followers can ask questions during this event using #askNASA. This event will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Panelists for this conversation are:

  • Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist

  • Michelle Thaller, deputy director of science communications for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

  • Lindley Johnson, director of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

  • Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at Goddard

  • Media who would like to attend this panel must board a bus at the Press Site at 12:15 p.m. to travel to the OSB II. Buses will return at 2:15 p.m.

    Also on this day, NASA will air a prelaunch webcast on the agency’s YouTube channel at:

    https://www.youtube.com/NASAtelevision

    Thursday, September 8

    2 p.m. — Dust to Thrust: Mining for Resources in Space

    During this event at the Kennedy Press Site, media will learn more about the potential and technology for space mining, and have the opportunity to interview experts in the in-situ resource utilization and atmospheric mining communities. This event will not air on NASA TV or the agency’s website.

    4:30 p.m. – Launch Coverage Begins

    Live coverage of the OSIRIS-REx mission launch will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website with the start of cryogenic tanking of the Atlas V rocket, and conclude approximately one hour after launch.

    7:05 to 9:05 p.m. – Launch window for the OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft

    The launch will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

    Approximately 2 hours After Launch – Post-Launch News Conference

    Representatives from NASA and ULA will discuss the status of the spacecraft and next steps on the asteroid sampling mission. Social media followers can ask questions during this event using #askNASA. This event will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

    OSIRIS-REx will be the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid. OSIRIS-REx will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, arriving in 2018, to survey the surface, retrieve at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) of surface material, and return it to Earth in 2023 for study. Analysis of the sample will reveal the earliest stages of the solar system’s evolution and the history of Bennu over the past 4.5 billion years.

    Goddard provides overall mission management, systems engineering and the safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. The University of Arizona leads the science team and observation planning and processing. Lockheed Martin Space Systems built the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the agency’s New Frontiers Program for its Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Launch management is conducted by the Launch Services Program at Kennedy.

    To learn more about the OSIRIS-REx mission, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/osiris-rex

    To watch NASA Television programming online, or for downlink or schedule information, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

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