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NASA Is Launching an Asteroid-Sampling Space Probe Today: Watch It Live

NASA Is Launching an Asteroid-Sampling Space Probe Today: Watch It Live

Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s OSIRIS-REx goal is prepared to start a seven-year space journey. If a good continue holds, a booster will launch into space currently (Sept. 8) during about 7:05 p.m. EDT (2305 GMT), and start a round-trip tour to investigate an asteroid and snatch a representation to pierce behind home.

“We are prepared to launch this illusory asteroid-retrieval mission,” Tim Dunn, a NASA launch manager during Kennedy Space Center (KSC), pronounced during a media lecture during KSC Tuesday (Sept. 6). You can watch a webcast of OSIRIS-REx launch here commencement during 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT), pleasantness of NASA TV. 

The OSIRIS-REx mission (which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) will transport about 4.5 billion miles (7.2 billion kilometers) to a asteroid Bennu, NASA member pronounced during a scholarship lecture on a mission. After study and mapping a asteroid in depth, a booster will pierce tighten adequate to dip element off a space rock’s aspect before returning home. The representation should yield insights into a early life of a solar system. [NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Mission Launch: Complete Coverage]

Credit: Karl Tate/SPACE.com

Created during roughly a same time as a solar system’s 8 planets, asteroids are suspicion to enclose within them a seeds of a early solar system. The representation that OSIRIS-REx will take from Bennu in 2020 will yield clues about how planets like Earth formed, a poser that continues to nonplus researchers, NASA member pronounced during a scholarship briefing. Scientists consider a asteroid is lonesome with organic material. If a associate asteroids rained down on Earth billions of years ago, a space rocks could have brought H2O and a mixture for life to a immature world.

On Wednesday (Sept. 7), a mission’s Atlas V rocket with a trustworthy cargo changed scarcely a entertain mile, withdrawal a reserve of a storage building for a pad where, hopefully, it will blast into space. The final credentials starts during midday today, as a launch organisation starts a final energy credentials during noon EDT, followed by fueling during around 5 p.m. EDT. At 7:05 p.m. EDT today, a time starts counting down a 115-minute launch window. If all runs uniformly —and a continue cooperates — a Atlas V carrying OSIRIS-REx will lift off tonight. If, however, there are complications, a rocket might have to wait. Large problems will need investigation, though if a emanate is minor, or weather-related, a organisation is prepared to retry each 5 minutes, Scott Messer, a NASA module manager during United Launch Alliance in Colorado, pronounced during a media lecture Tuesday.

The skies demeanour flattering good so far. Forecasters are presaging 80 percent possibility of good continue when it’s time to launch. Clay Flinn, a launch continue officiator during Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, pronounced a element regard will be a participation of cumulus clouds that are approaching to blow in off a Atlantic Ocean, streamer west. If technical issues check a launch, conditions on Friday and Saturday are expected to be usually somewhat worse, with a 70 percent possibility of launch.

“It looks flattering auspicious for a initial try on Thursday evening,” Flinn said.

If a rocket does not launch on Thursday, there is a 34-day window for a examine to launch and still strech a target. 

Credit: NASA

Space can be a dangerous trail to travel. Last week’s explosion of a Space X Falcon 9 rocket seems to have brought a pointy sip of reality.

“Nobody likes to see your colleagues go by a day like that,” Dunn pronounced during a briefing. “It was a sheer sign to me and a whole group about a risks that we face in a business.”

Messer pronounced a group achieved an endless walk-down of a height to safeguard no waste would means problems. The engineering group also reviewed a apparatus and dynamic there were no concerns. The Atlas V is well-tested, carrying flown some-more than 60 launches given a 2002 debut. 

“There is no towering risk to OSIRIS-REx to launch on a Atlas V,” Dunn said.

OSIRIS-REx principal questioner Dante Lauretta pronounced that he isn’t nervous, since he trusts a engineering group that fabricated a rocket that will lift a goal into space. That doesn’t meant he’s totally calm, however, he said.

“I’m concerned since I’ve been operative on this for 12 years,” he pronounced before emphasizing his clever faith in a OSIRIS-REx group and a research of intensity risks. The group has worked to actively identify, conduct and lessen a misfortune of a hurdles that will face a examine via a lifetime, he said.

“A hallmark of OSIRIS-REx is effective risk management,” Lauretta said. “But we know those risks.”

Follow Nola Taylor Redd on Twitter @NolaTRedd or Google+. Follow us during @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

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