The Lockheed Martin-built Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer arrived Monday at the asteroid Bennu after a 1.2B-mile journey.
NASA said Tuesday its navigation team will use preliminary survey data to prepare for OSIRIS-REx’s entrance to the potentially hazardous asteroid’s orbit on Dec. 31 to collect two ounces of regolith samples.
The vehicle began maneuvers around Bennu in October and will now conduct flyovers of Bennu’s polar and equatorial regions.
Lori Glaze, acting director for NASA’s planetary science division, said the agency is working with Canadian partners to bring back a piece of the early solar system through the mission.
The spacecraft is scheduled to deliver the sample to Earth in September 2023.
OSIRIS-REx is the third mission under the Marshall Space Flight Center-managed New Frontiers Program.