Feb 19, 2018
This week the spacecraft conducted activities that validated its ability to perform some of the maneuvers required for sample collection. On Feb. 12, the spacecraft conducted a TAG (Touch-and-Go) Backaway Maneuver, demonstrating the propulsive maneuver the spacecraft will use to leave the asteroid’s surface after sampling. On Feb. 15 and 16, the spacecraft ran a checkout of its two precision LTR (Low Thrust Rocket-Engine-Assembly) Thrusters. These tiny rocket engines will be used to make fine velocity adjustments when OSIRIS-REx is in orbit about Bennu, such as the spacecraft’s critical orbit phasing burn to set up the proper orbit departure point leading to sample acquisition.
OSIRIS-REx is currently 30 million km from Bennu and has 648 million km to left to travel before it reaches the asteroid.