Tonight at 5:10h CEST, NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx successfully TAGged (touch-and-go) the asteroid “Bennu” at a distance of around 330 million kilometres and – hopefully – collected enough dust and small stones. It have to be at least 60 grams (up to 2 kilograms can be transported). If it was enough will be clarified in the next few days and a decision will be made as to whether OSIRIS-REx has to go down again or can head on its way home to Earth.
Thanks to the amplifying communication technology (TWTAs) from Backnang, the data from OSIRIS-REx can reach Earth from an enormous distance; a distance so far that the radio signal needs more than 15 minutes – one way. The time frame once more proves the reliability of TESAT products: by now, OSIRIS-REx has been on the road for more than 4 years and has been orbiting Bennu for the last 2 years, collecting data and photos. Its way home will take approximately 1.5 years.
About the asteroid: Bennu incidentally comes from the early days of our solar system and is about 4.5 billion years old. Whatever the probe brings back shall help to decipher how our habitat was created and unlocks another secret of the universe.