NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is 328,000 miles, or 528,000 kilometers, away from the asteroid Bennu, having fired its engines on May 10 to initiate a return trip to Earth. The spacecraft is on track to deliver an asteroid sample to Earth on September 24, 2023.
Mission engineers had planned to do a small thruster firing last week to ensure the spacecraft stays on the correct path back to Earth. But, the May 10 departure maneuver was calculated and executed so precisely, the mission team decided not to do a clean-up maneuver last week.
The next possible maneuver adjustment could occur in 2022.
After nearly five years in space, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is on its way back to Earth with an abundance of rocks and dust from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center