NASA Says OSIRIS-REx Will Leave Asteroid Bennu May 10 Written 27 January 2021
The Houston Chronicle reports that NASA announced Tuesday that the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will leave asteroid Bennu on May 10. OSIRIS-REx Deputy Project Manager Michael Moreau said, “Leaving Bennu’s vicinity in May puts us in the ‘sweet spot,’ when the departure maneuver will consume the least amount of the spacecraft’s onboard fuel.” The departure date “could also provide time for the OSIRIS-REx team to conduct a final flyby of Bennu. This would provide another look at the site where the spacecraft collected samples – to determine how its touch-and-go maneuver affected the surface of Bennu – and could be used to check the spacecraft’s scientific instruments and see if they’re healthy enough to possibly extend the mission after Bennu’s samples are returned to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023.” The flight back to Earth is expected to take two years.
Full Story (Houston Chronicle)