Mission leaders Tuesday gave approval for rollout of the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket to its pad on Wednesday morning, leading to liftoff Thursday evening of a NASA probe to rendezvous with an asteroid and bring a sample back to Earth.
What began as a concept scribbled on a cocktail napkin in a Tucson bar 12 years ago — sending a spacecraft to an asteroid and retrieving a pristine sample to bring back to Earth for study — becomes reality Thursday with the launch of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission.
Prognosticators are predicting favorable weather conditions to launch an Atlas 5 rocket Thursday and send NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on its interplanetary journey to interrogate an asteroid and collect a surface sample for return to Earth.
NASA says initial checks show no damage to the Atlas 5 rocket or the agency’s asteroid-bound OSIRIS-REx spacecraft that stood within the Vertical Integration Facility just a mile away from the SpaceX explosion Thursday.
This NASA animation depicts the OSIRIS-REx mission to grab a sample of Asteroid Bennu and return it to Earth for study. Launch from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas 5 rocket is scheduled for Sept. 8 and landing in Utah is planned for Sept. 24, 2023.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft today moved a step closer to starting a voyage to explore an uncharted world in our solar system — the mountain-sized Asteroid Bennu — by joining the booster rocket that will propel it from Earth next week.
At Cape Canaveral’s Vertical Integration Facility, adjacent to the Complex 41 launch pad, workers with United Launch Alliance stacked the Atlas 5 rocket that will propel NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on its voyage to Asteroid Bennu.
Running through a practice countdown to check systems before launching a NASA sample-return probe to Asteroid Bennu in exactly two weeks, an Atlas 5 successfully completed its Wet Dress Rehearsal today.
Watch the pre-flight news conference that introduces NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket on Sept. 8. It will capture a sample of Asteroid Bennu for return to Earth.