NASA OSIRIS-REx Post Launch Status of Asteroid Sample Return Mission

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft lifts off on from Space Launch Complex 41 on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. OSIRIS-REx will be the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid, retrieve at least two ounces of surface material and return it to Earth for study. The asteroid, Bennu, may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of water and organic molecules found on Earth. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

Following the Sept. 8 launch of the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, representatives from NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA) discussed the status of the spacecraft and the next steps on the mission.

OSIRIS-REx is the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid. The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at near-Earth asteroid Bennu in 2018, survey the asteroid's surface, retrieve at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) of surface material, and return the sample 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.

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