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Old 09-09-2017, 10:38 PM
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OzEclipse (Joe Cali)
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 657
Osiris rex

A colleague at my work is a geologist on the NASA OSIRIS-REX mission.

OSIRIS-REx will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study. The mission launched Sept. 8, 2016, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As planned, the spacecraft will reach Bennu in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.

The spacecraft is currently orbiting Earth and about to do its final slingshot. My colleague put out a call for help doing photographic astrometry on it to assist NASA in refining the trajectory. Unfortunately I will be away on the prime night and unable to participate but I have been in touch with the coordinator and checked out the orbit. OSIRIS is in a polar orbit and will be doing it's final slingshot towards the asteroid on the night of the 22 Sept. The 6m craft will come within 21000km of Earth and pass right through the SCP moving at 0.5 degrees per minute 4 x siderial speed at closest approach. It won't be visible to the naked eye but is detectable photographically.

This isn't a call for observations. 8 groups positioned around Australia are already selected.

I am posting this in case you are interested in just having a go, the OSIRIS orbit is in NASA JPL Horizons and you can generate a topocentric ephemeris from that.

Joe
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