OSIRIS-REx Launches on Multi-Year Mission to Asteroid Bennu

Precisely on the opening of tonight's 115-minute "launch window", the Atlas V 411 took flight. Photo Credit: Michael Galindo/AmericaSpace

Precisely on the opening of tonight’s 115-minute “launch window,” the Atlas V 411 took flight. Photo Credit: Michael Galindo/AmericaSpace

Just a half-hour before the Sun set over the Space Coast on Thursday, 8 September, United Launch Alliance (ULA) has successfully delivered NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft on its […]

OSIRIS-REx Stands Ready for Date With Asteroid Bennu (Part 2)

OSIRIS-REx is revealed after its protective cover is removed at NASA Kennedy's Payload Processing Hazardous Facility at NASA Kennedy.

An artist’s rendering of OSIRIS-REx at asteroid 101955 Bennu. Its solar arrays will be configured in a “Y-wing” shape to avoid dust accumulation. Image Credit: NASA

Tomorrow evening, if all goes well, a spacecraft destined to visit, retrieve, and return samples from a near-pristine “carbonaceous” asteroid will roar aloft atop a unique “flying-sideways” rocket […]

OSIRIS-REx Stands Ready for Date With Asteroid Bennu (Part 1)

OSIRIS-Rex in the vicinity of the asteroid Bennu. Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has completed assembly at Lockheed Martin Space Systems near Denver, Colo. Over the next several months engineers will put the spacecraft through a series of intense tests. The $800 million mission to retrieve samples from Astroid Bennu is scheduled to launch in September 2016. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

Just two days […]

Nearly There: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Being Readied for Sept. 8 Launch

An artist's rendering of OSIRIS-REx at asteroid 101955 Bennu. Its solar arrays will be configured in a "Y-wing" shape to avoid dust accumulation. Image Credit: NASA

An artist’s rendering of OSIRIS-REx at asteroid 101955 Bennu. Image Credit: NASA

The last decade has proven to be watershed years for deep space exploration. While the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft proved a small lander could be set down upon a rocky comet, other missions including NASA’s Curiosity rover, Dawn, and New […]

Asteroid-Bound OSIRIS-REx Arrives at NASA Kennedy for September Launch

OSIRIS-REx uncrating at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy. Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

OSIRIS-REx uncrating at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy. Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

NASA’s first asteroid sampling spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, May 20. The spacecraft is set to undergo a series of tests and final preparations to ready it for a September launch to an […]

Asteroid Visitor, Asteroid Orbiter, Asteroid Lander: 20 Years Since the Launch of NEAR Shoemaker

Asteroid 433 Eros, visited by the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)-Shoemaker during 1998-2001. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, today, on 17 February 1996, NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)—a name later adjusted to honor the planetary scientist Gene Shoemaker—rocketed away from Launch Complex (LC)-17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a venerable Delta […]

Pluto's Large Nitrogen Ice 'Sea' Probably Formed from Giant Impact, Scientists Say

The vast ice plains of Sputnik Planum on Pluto. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The vast ice plains of Sputnik Planum on Pluto. The basin, now filled with nitrogen ice, was probably created by a huge impact. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Instead of being little more than a frozen and unchanging rocky iceball, Pluto has been revealed to be a complex and dynamic little world, with mountains, valleys, vast icy […]

NASA Seeks American Industry Ideas on Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission Spacecraft Design

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission capturing an asteroid boulder before redirecting it to an astronaut-accessible orbit around Earth's moon.
Caption and Credits: NASA

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission capturing an asteroid boulder before redirecting it to an astronaut-accessible orbit around Earth’s moon.Caption and Credits: NASA

NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) plans to send a robotic spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid to pluck a boulder off the surface and move it into a stable orbit […]

OSIRIS-REx Taking Shape, Engineers Explain Innovative Asteroid Sample Return Mechanism

Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx in the environs of Asteroid Bennu, sometime after 2018. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

While avid space watchers may thrill to missions such as Stardust (which returned a sample from a comet), Dawn (which visited an asteroid and dwarf planet), and Rosetta (which placed a lander upon a comet’s surface), […]

Spacecraft Assembly Begins for NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission

Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. mission to return samples from an asteroid to Earth. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard

The first United States mission in history to launch a robotic spacecraft to an asteroid, retrieve samples, and return those samples back to Earth for study just passed a big milestone in its development this […]