Oct 30, 2017
This past week, the mission took advantage of the spacecraft’s long outbound cruise to study the spacecraft’s thermal profile. As part of the exercise, the spacecraft was placed into certain orientations that it will employ during asteroid proximity operations in order to more precisely determine the thermal properties of each part of the spacecraft. As different spacecraft components were exposed to the Sun, the team measured how quickly they warmed and cooled. This in-flight characterization of OSIRIS-REx’s thermal properties will help the team more accurately predict the spacecraft’s thermal state while the spacecraft is operating close to Bennu.
Back on Earth, the ground team continues to be busy planning spacecraft operations and science observations for Bennu proximity operations, which will begin in August 2018 and continue through sample collection, scheduled for July 2020.