On September 24, one of the most long-awaited space events of 2023 will take place. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will deliver samples of the substance of the asteroid Bennu to Earth.
The operation will take place as follows. On September 24, when the spacecraft will be located at a distance of 102 thousand km from our planet, the capsule will separate from it. In four hours, it will enter the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 12.3 km/s, which is noticeably faster than the speed of spacecraft returning to Earth after being on the ISS.
Because of this, the capsule will be subjected to more powerful temperature effects and overloads. The maximum temperature during atmospheric entry will reach 2,900°C. But NASA has no particular concerns about this stage. The design of the OSIRIS-REx capsule is based on the capsule of the Stardust mission, which in 2006 successfully delivered to Earth samples of matter from the tail of a comet.
Some concern is caused by the descent stage. Many have not yet forgotten the incident with the Genesis mission in 2004, in which the capsule crashed during landing due to a failed parachute. But NASA claims that they have learned their lesson and this situation will not happen again.
If everything goes as planned, the capsule with samples of the asteroid Bennu will land at 5:54 p.m. GMT+3 on the territory of the landfill in Utah. The live broadcast of the event will be conducted both on the NASA website and on Youtube.
As for OSIRIS-REx, 20 minutes after the capsule separation, the spacecraft activates the engines to “turn away” from the Earth. Next, it will fly at a distance of 780 km from the earth’s surface and go into interplanetary space. Its next target will be the asteroid Apophis. In April 2029, OSIRIS-REx will get closer to it, after which it will study the small body for the next 18 months.
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