Last week, the NASA space agency for the first time ever sent a specialized research unit for a thorough examination of outer space. OSIRIS-REx was launched into space to study the asteroid Bennu, rotating around the sun.
OSIRIS-REx mission is to take samples of the asteroid soil and deliver them to our planet for the further study. The project will last for seven years. It is expected that the unit will catch up the asteroid in 2018; in two years, it will be able to fulfil its task and it will come back by 2023.
Launch of AtlasV, a carrier rocket of OSIRIS-REx, was conducted accurately according to the plan. The rocket was launched at 19:05 local time from the spaceport at Cape Canaveral. Upon separation of the first AtlasV’s stage, a Centaur engine started to operate. Around 20:04, OSIRIS-REx separated from its carrier and went to the asteroid. According to the NASA experts, there was a perfect, almost cloudless weather during the rocket launch, which certainly contributed to the successful launch.
This scientific apparatus is equipped with cameras, a laser meter, spectrometers and other instruments that will allow it to fulfil its mission. A robotic arm will perform capture of soil. The NASA representatives plan to collect up to 2 kg of soil with the help of scientific apparatus.
A unique project aimed to study outer space cost about $ 1 billion. Well, let's hope that this device will successfully complete its mission and will come back to the Earth with a valuable cargo on the board in seven years.
Get an overview of the global space market