Apr 09, 2018
The spacecraft remained in nominal operations this week. On the ground, the team continued planning asteroid proximity operations for execution starting late summer, while also participating in the ongoing Operational Readiness Test simulation.
On April 4, the team uplinked a patch for the Relative Asteroid Target List up to the spacecraft. This upgrade will allow the team to point the spacecraft using its sense of nadir (the location directly below the spacecraft) when taking science observations. Currently, the spacecraft uses absolute (instead of relative) pointing, so each time the ground team sends a new ephemeris, planned observations must be updated. This new capability will greatly reduce the number of late information updates required for observations and will make observation products reusable.
As of this week, OSIRIS-REx has travelled over 1.5 billion km since its launch in Sept. 2016. It is currently 47.7 million km from Earth and has a little over .5 billion km left to travel until it reaches the asteroid Bennu.