Feb 16, 2021
OSIRIS-REx has entered the Post-TAG Observation (PTO) phase. Currently, the spacecraft is approximately 936 km from asteroid Bennu and approaching the at about 47 cm/s. Since October’s sample collection event, the spacecraft had been slowly drifting away and ended up approximately 2,200 km from Bennu.
OSIRIS-REx executed the first of five separate navigation maneuvers on Jan. 14, which are designed to return the spacecraft to Bennu. This first maneuver acted as a braking burn and put the spacecraft on a trajectory to rendezvous with the asteroid one last time on Apr. 7.
The spacecraft will perform a second approach maneuver on Mar. 6, when it is approximately 250 km from Bennu.
After the second maneuver on Mar. 6, OSIRIS-REx will execute three subsequent maneuvers, which are required to place the spacecraft on a precise trajectory for the final flyby.
OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to depart Bennu on May 10 by firing the main engine thrusters to begin its two-year journey back to Earth. The spacecraft will deliver the samples of Bennu to the Utah Test and Training Range on Sep. 24, 2023.