NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex Spacecraft Undergoing Major Environmental Test Milestone

(March 8, 2016) NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, assigned to collect a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth for study, is undergoing a major milestone in its environmental testing, according to ScienceDaily.com.

In thermal vacuum testing, designed to simulate the harsh environment of space and see how the spacecraft and its instruments operate under ‘flight-like’ conditions, “OSIRIS-REx will be powered on and off while in a vacuum and exposed to the extreme cold and heat that it will see over its seven-year mission to Bennu”, reported ScienceDaily.com.

“After the air has been removed from the chamber, liquid nitrogen is pumped into tubes that run throughout the wall of the chamber, bringing the temperature down to as low as minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit,” ScienceDaily.com explained, “A powerful light is turned on periodically to simulate the sun and the heat the spacecraft will experience. Throughout the 22-day test, a team of engineers test and monitor the spacecraft and its instruments 24 hours a day.”

According to ScienceDaily.com, “OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch in September and travel to the asteroid Bennu to collect a sample and return it to Earth for study.”

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Image courtesy, Lockheed Martin


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