The OSIRIS-REx might sound as though it is some sort of ship from the annals of the Matrix trilogy, or perhaps some other science fiction movie, but in reality, it is the abbreviation for the full name which is known as “Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer”. It is great to note that this particular science project has the full range of its scientific research instruments installed on it over at Lockheed Martin Space System facilities, where the September 2016 launch continues to be on track.
When September rolls around next year, the OSIRIS-REx will launch with the objective of forming a rendezvous with the near-Earth asteroid Bennu in 2018. Talk about a really nail biting two year journey thereabouts! Throughout the period of time, it will undergo testing in different conditions which will be what the destination’s environment will be like – ranging from extreme temperatures to vibrations, not to mention the cold and seemingly heartless vacuum of space.
The whole testing process that replicates the future harsh environmental factors is to ensure that the spacecraft itself will be sturdy enough in order to handle whatever is thrown across its path down the road. The ultimate mission? To collect a 2.1 ounce sample of the asteroid on which it will meet with, before making a trip back to earth that has a scheduled landing time of 2023.