Jun 01, 2020
This week, OSIRIS-REx successfully executed the 250-m flyover of site Osprey. This low-altitude pass was the closest the spacecraft has flown over the backup sample site.
On May 26, the spacecraft left its 0.6-mile (1-km) counterclockwise orbit (as viewed from the Sun) and aimed its science instruments toward the 52-ft (16-m) wide site. The science observations from this pass are the closest taken of Osprey to date. In March, the spacecraft executed a similar pass over primary sample site Nightingale.
High-resolution imagery from Osprey’s pass will aid the team in further assessing the presence of fine-grained, sampleable material. The flyover also provided the opportunity to capture images for the Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) image catalog for site Osprey – documenting the site’s surface features.
After completing the flyover, the spacecraft executed maneuver R4R to reenter orbit, and is now circling Bennu clockwise. The spacecraft normally orbits Bennu counterclockwise, but this shift in orbital direction was necessary to position the spacecraft for the second rehearsal of the sample collection sequence, which is scheduled for Aug. 11.