On the Pad at Space Launch Complex 41

OSIRIS-REx rollout to the Pad 41 for the upcoming launch.The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket made the trek from the Vertical Integration Facility to Space Launch Complex 41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesday. Atop the rocket, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is sealed in the protective payload fairing. Liftoff is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

If you’re in the central Florida area and wondering how to view the launch, check out this page for a list of popular launch viewing locations.

How Were OSIRIS-REx and Atlas V Prepped for Flight?

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will be boosted into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. OSIRIS-REx stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer. The U.S.’s first mission to sample an asteroid, OSIRIS-REx will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu.

Learn how this pioneering spacecraft and the Atlas V were readied for flight:

OSIRIS-REx NASA Social, Asteroid Briefing to be Televised

The forecast for launch of the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft remains 80 percent “go” atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 7:05 p.m. EDT Thursday from Space Launch Complex 41 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Today, NASA will air two OSIRIS-REx events on NASA TV. Social media followers may ask questions during both using #askNASA.

Noon to 1 p.m. – OSIRIS-REx NASA Social

NASA will host a discussion with representatives from the mission’s science and engineering teams that includes an overview of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and the science behind the mission. This event will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

1 to 2 p.m. – Uncovering the Secrets of Asteroids Briefing

During this panel at OSB II, NASA scientists will discuss asteroids, how they relate to the origins of our solar system, and the search for life beyond Earth. Panelists are:

  • Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist
  • Michelle Thaller, deputy director of science communications for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
  • Lindley Johnson, director of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
  • Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at Goddard

Televised Briefings Today; Forecast Favors Thursday Launch

Launch week has arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is slated to lift off Thursday, Sept. 8, sending the agency’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to the asteroid Bennu. Liftoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 41. Learn more about this ambitious mission.

Forecasters with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron are predicting an 80 percent of “go” weather at launch time, with the possibility of cumulus clouds as the main concern.

Officials are holding a Launch Readiness Review today to ensure the spacecraft and rocket are prepared for this week’s activities. This afternoon, NASA will hold two briefings at Kennedy. Both briefings will air live on NASA TV. Events and participants are:

1 p.m. – Prelaunch mission briefing at the Kennedy Press Site

  • Geoffrey Yoder, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington
  • Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Tim Dunn, NASA launch manager at Kennedy
  • Scott Messer, program manager for NASA missions at ULA in Centennial, Colorado
  • Michael Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • Rich Kuhns, OSIRIS-REx program manager for Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver
  • Clay Flinn, launch weather officer for the 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

2 p.m. – OSIRIS-REx mission science briefing at the Kennedy Press Site

  • Christina Richey, OSIRIS-REx deputy program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Jason Dworkin, OSIRIS-REx project scientist at Goddard
  • Daniella DellaGiustina, OSIRIS-REx lead image processing scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson

Teams Rehearse OSIRIS-REx Launch Countdown

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, enclosed in a payload fairing, is positioned atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Aug. 29, 2016Launch and mission controllers are at their consoles this afternoon in a dress rehearsal for the upcoming launch of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Goddard Space Flight Center, United Launch Alliance and Lockheed Martin all are participating in today’s test.

OSIRIS-REx is sealed inside the payload fairing and already in place atop the rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch team is based at the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center a few miles south of the launch site.

Photo credit: NASA/ Dimitri Gerondidakis

OSIRIS-REx Passes Flight Readiness Review

Launch and mission officials gathered this morning for the OSIRIS-REx Flight Readiness Review and concluded that there are no issues or concerns that would preclude continuing to target launch next Thursday, Sept. 8. Liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is planned for 7:05 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 41 on Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The Atlas V, including the payload fairing containing the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, is in place at the pad, where vehicle closeouts have started. The spacecraft on-pad functional test will be completed today. A launch countdown dress rehearsal is set for Friday afternoon.

The Launch Readiness Review planned for Tuesday, Sept. 6 will be the final prelaunch readiness check before teams proceed with the countdown.

GOES-R Spacecraft Arrives in Florida to Begin Prelaunch Preps

A truck with a specialized transporter drives out of the cargo hold of an Air Force C-5 Galaxy transport plane at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to deliver the GOES-R spacecraft for launch processing.NOAA’s GOES-R advanced weather satellite arrived in Florida on Aug. 22 aboard an Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft, touching down at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. GOES-R then was transported to the Astrotech payload processing facility in nearby Titusville, where it was carefully removed from its shipping container, rotated, and placed into a test stand to begin prelaunch processing.

GOES-R will be the first satellite in a series of next-generation NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES), which will also include GOES-S, T, and U. These satellites will provide significant enhancements for weather forecasters at NOAA’s National Weather Service, giving them the ability to observe the Western Hemisphere in near-real time. GOES-R will offer three times more spectral channels, four times better resolution, and provide five times faster scans of the Earth compared with current GOES satellites.

The spacecraft is slated to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in November.

Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Nearly Five Years After Launch, Juno Reaches Jupiter

NASA's Juno planetary probe, enclosed in its payload fairing, launches atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
NASA’s Juno planetary probe, enclosed in its payload fairing, launches atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Photo credit: NASA/Kenny Allen

The sun rises over Space Launch Complex 41 prior to liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Atlas rocket carrying NASA's Juno spacecraft.NASA’s Juno spacecraft is arriving at its destination with fanfare and fireworks.

As Americans celebrate Independence Day, Juno will slip into orbit around Jupiter. The solar-powered, 4-ton probe launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Aug. 5, 2011.

In August 2007, a team led by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy Space Center selected an Atlas V 551 rocket for the task of launching Juno. After four more years of mission integration and analysis, Juno was lofted into space with a nearly perfect ascent. At that point the Juno team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. took over control of the mission, deploying the spacecraft’s huge solar arrays and beginning a thorough checkout of all its systems and instruments to make sure all was well at the start of the long journey.

In the Astrotech payload processing facility near Kennedy Space Center in Florida, twin sections of the Atlas payload fairing are moved closer to the Juno spacecraft during work to enclose the spacecraft for launch.Now five years and some 1.75 billion miles later, Juno will enter into an orbit around Jupiter that gradually will get closer and closer to the planet during its mission lifetime. At about 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on the Fourth of July, the spacecraft will fly within 2,900 miles of the cloud tops of Jupiter. It will conduct a 35-minute burn of its main engine, slowing by about 1,200 mph so it can enter the polar orbit of our solar system’s largest planet.

“I’m sure it will be a tense 35 minutes on July Fourth during the main engine firing necessary to slow Juno down enough to achieve orbit around Jupiter,” said John Calvert, Juno’s mission manager for the Launch Services Program (LSP) at Kennedy Space Center. “We are all excited to finally start revealing the mysteries of the origins and evolution of Jupiter.”

Juno’s goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter, look for a solid planetary core, map magnetic fields, measure water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe auroras.

For the latest status and information on Juno’s arrival at Jupiter, visit the mission’s website at https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/main.

Photo credits: NASA/Kenny Allen (top and middle) and NASA/Kim Shiflett (bottom)

OSIRIS-REx Goes for a Spin

A spin test being performed on the OSIRIS-REx inside the PHSF.OSIRIS-REx being moved from spin test stand to separate test stand for further processing insidethe PHSF.In the image above, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft rotates on a spin table during a weight and center of gravity test May 24 inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. An overhead crane carefully returned the spacecraft to its work stand May 26 (right) to continue prelaunch processing.

OSIRIS-REx, stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer. The spacecraft will travel to an asteroid, Bennu, retrieve a sample and return it to Earth. Liftoff is targeted for Sept. 8 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Photos by NASA/Kim Shiflett (above) and NASA/Frank Michaux (right)

OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Begins Prelaunch Processing Ahead of Asteroid Mission

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is revealed after its protective cover is removed inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.Tucked into a shipping container, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is unloaded from an Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft on the Shuttle Landing Facility runway at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday evening aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft.

OSIRIS-REx stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer. This will be the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid, retrieve at least two ounces of surface material and return it to Earth for study. The asteroid, Bennu, may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of water and organic molecules found on Earth.

Tucked inside a shipping container, the spacecraft traveled from Lockheed Martin’s facility near Denver, Colorado to Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility. It was carefully offloaded from the aircraft and transported to the spaceport’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility to begin processing for its upcoming launch, targeted for Sept. 8 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Photo credits: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis (top) and NASA/Bill White (right)