OSIRIS-REx Mission


    The OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) mission is designed to return a sample of material from near-Earth carbonaceous asteroid Bennu. OSIRIS-REx launched in September 2016 and will carry out Bennu orbit operations from December 2018 through around March 2021. It will sample the asteroid in July 2020 and return the sample to Earth in September 2023. Along with returning a sample, it will map the asteroid and measure non-gravitational forces on the orbit.

    Identifier (LID)




Mission Phase Information

Mission phase Start date End date  Phase Description
09‑16‑2016 The initial launch of the OSIRIS REx spacecraft 
Outbound Cruise 9-16-2016 08-13-2018 The Outbound Cruise trajectory includes a one-year Earth-to-Earth trajectory and one large Deep Space Maneuver. The earth flyby date was September 22nd 2017
Approach 08-13-2018 12-03-2018 The spacecraft began observing Bennu in June 2018, when the asteroid was just bright enough for detection by PolyCam. The objective of these first observations was to begin surveying the operational environment, Characterizing Bennu Point-Source Properties and begin preliminary shape model development. 
Preliminary Survey 12-03-2018 12-27-2018 Preliminary Survey consisted of three hyperbolic trajectories that crossed over the North and South poles and the equator. The objectives of this phase were to take scientific measurements of Bennu's mass as well as obtain LIDAR altimetry and optical imaging data. 
Orbit A 12-27-2018 02‑22‑2019 The spacecraft was placed into a 1.5-km orbit, beginning the Orbit-A Phase. During this phase, the FDS team transitioned from star-based to landmark optical navigation. Official orbit insertion occurred on December 31st 2018.
Detailed Survey 02-22-2019 06‑08‑2019 The Detailed Survey Phase, required multiple hyperbolic passes of Bennu to obtain the wide range of viewing angles necessary to characterize the asteroid's global properties.The imaging and LIDAR data obtained allowed for the creation of a 35cm shape model. In addition the detailed survey phase also collected many spectra data products. 
Orbit B 06-08-2019 08-05-2019 The spacecraft entered a close orbit around Bennu.  The primary science activities during this phase were the radio science experiment, shape modeling and topographic measurements based on OLA ranging, and the surveying of potential sample sites
Orbit C 08-05-2019 09-09-2019 This phase of the mission was added after arrival at Bennu to provide additional observations of the sampling sites.
Reconnaissance Phase 10-28-2019 01-06-2020 In this phase the primary and secondary sampling sites were determined.  These two sites were the target of a series of low-altitude reconnaissance observations. The reconnaissance data was key to developing the site-specific safety, sample-ability, and science value maps at local scales. 
Rehearsal 03-30-2020 09-21-2020 This phase includes the TAG (Touch-and-go) sample collection rehearsal. The first rehearsal exercised the period from departure to a predefined"Checkpoint" before returning to orbit.  The second rehearsal took the spacecraft from orbit to a "Matchpoint," where the spacecraft achieved a hovering state over the desired sampling location before a return to orbit.
Sample Acquisition 09-21-2020 11-23-2020 This phase of the mission included the successful TAG sample acquisition attempt. Also included in this phase was the TAG event reconstruction and sample stowing procedure.  
Return Cruise 03-01-2021 09-01-2023 Nominal departure for Earth will commence with a burn in March 3rd 2021 that places the spacecraft on a ballistic trajectory for Earth return in September 2023. During the Return Cruise phase the team will compile all remote-sensing data and map products to constrain the nature and history of geologic material on the surface of Bennu and its dynamical history and orbital evolution.

For questions about the data sets or this web site, contact us at sbn@psi.edu.