Jul 22, 2019
This week, OSIRIS-REx continued its scheduled science activities from a nadir-pointed attitude. The spacecraft successfully executed its third week of global mapping in Orbital B phase, along with the first Orbital B Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) checkout. NFT is a method of autonomous navigation in which the spacecraft uses the features on Bennu’s surface for guidance. This was the first time that NFT has been used in flight.
The team is also starting to receive extremely detailed OLA data from the spacecraft’s low-altitude orbit. These data are critical for selecting the best sample collection sites as the mission moves forward.
OSIRIS-REx will transition to Orbital C in early August, where the spacecraft will orbit Bennu at a slightly higher altitude of 1.7 km. Orbital C is similar to the frozen orbit used in Orbital A. During Orbital C phase, the team and spacecraft will resume particle monitoring.