OSIRIS-REx ‘GO’ for Sample Capsule Release

Following a team briefing minutes ago, operators gave the “go” for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to release its sample capsule. The poll of the lead engineers and military personnel was unanimous. 

Each team lead responded based on a list of criteria. Are projections showing that the capsule will land in its target area? Yes. Do the latest predictions of peak heat and peak deceleration levels that the spacecraft will endure still meet our expectations? Yes. Is the spacecraft ready to release the capsule and divert itself away from Earth? Yes. Is the team ready for the day? Yes. Is the range clear? Yes. 

Within an hour, engineers at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Support Area in Denver will send the release commands to the spacecraft, which will cause the spacecraft to release the capsule at about 6:42 a.m. EDT (4:42 a.m. MDT) from around 63,000 miles of Earth’s surface – about one-third the distance from Earth to the Moon. 

NASA’s live coverage of the OSIRIS-REx capsule landing starts at 10 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. MDT) and will air on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.