OSIRIS-REx Earth Gravity Assist

  • Released Friday, September 22nd, 2017
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:47PM
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OSIRIS-REx is NASA's mission to explore near-earth asteroid Bennu, collect a sample, and return it to Earth. To get to Bennu, however, OSIRIS-REx must first leave the plane of Earth's orbit and match the orbital tilt of its target. On September 22, 2017, OSIRIS-REx will approach Earth and fly over its southern hemisphere, passing within 11,000 miles of Antarctica. This gravitational slingshot will bend its trajectory by six degrees, sending the spacecraft on a path to intercept Bennu. Shortly after the flyby, OSIRIS-REx will look back at Earth and take images and spectra, ensuring that its instruments are ready for arrival at Bennu in 2018.

Read more about the Earth gravity assist, or visit the NASA and University of Arizona mission websites.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab


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