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NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft fired its thrusters to position itself on the correct course for its upcoming Earth flyby. The spacecraft, which is on a two-year outbound journey to asteroid Bennu, successfully performed a precision course adjustment on Wednesday to prepare for the gravity slingshot on Sept. 22.
This trajectory correction maneuver was the first to use the spacecraft's Attitude Control System, or ACS, thrusters in a turn-burn-turn sequence. In this type of sequence, OSIRIS-REx's momentum wheels turn the spacecraft to point the ACS thrusters toward the desired direction for the burn, and the thrusters fire. After the burn, the momentum wheels turn the spacecraft back to its previous orientation. The total thrust is monitored by an on-board accelerometer that will stop the maneuver once the desired thrust is achieved.
High-precision - Changes - Velocity - Speed - Direction
High-precision changes in velocity, or speed and direction, will be critical when the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft operates near Bennu. Because Bennu is so small, it has only a weak gravity...
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