OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Launches From Cape Canaveral To Bennu and Back!
On September 8th 2016 at 7:05 pm EST NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft towards Bennu. Bennu, is a near Earth asteroid that the Space Agency will survey, map, collect surface samples and return to Earth.
After launch the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will travel one year to reach Bennu where it will begin its mapping and analyzing the surface. After this the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will fly in for a “kiss” where the spacecraft will gentle touch the surface of the asteroid with the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm and collect up to 4.4 lbs of dust and rock samples.
Once the samples have been safely secured on the spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx will then begin its return trip to Earth where scientist will study the samples.
Below is a video from the Ricoh Theta S 360° camera of the launch from the Kennedy Space Center press site adjacent to the Vehicle Assembly Building. To navigate the video, use your mouse to click and drag to the view you would like. You can also change the video projection to something fun like little planet mode. Go ahead and give it a try.
As you can hear in the video the sound from one of these rocket launches is pretty intense. I was only 3.83 miles away from Space Launch Complex 41 where the Atlas V blasted off from. The noise these rockets make can be heard for more than 25 miles away from the launch pad. The three 360° images below were also captured with the Ricoh Theta S camera.
After the launch, I photographed the rocket smoke plume which was producing an interesting shadow due to the sunset launch. Check out the shadow in the 360° image below.
Below is a GIF file that I created from 27 images of the Atlas V rocket blasting off from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
You can also view my post about the OSIRIS-REx before being encapsulated and prepped for launch.