OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer)

Teledyne provided sensors (visible, infrared, scanning LiDAR) for three of four science instruments on the OSIRIS-REx, a NASA mission to study an asteroid and return a sample to the Earth for further study. This mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.

OSIRIS-REx launched from Kennedy Space Center (Florida) on September 8, 2016 and arrived at the asteroid 101955 Bennu on December 3, 2018.  Bennu is a carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid that is 592 km wide and is a potentially hazardous asteroid, with a 1 in 2,700 chance of hitting the Earth between 2175 and 2199.  During January 2019 – June 2020, OSIRIS-Rex mapped and analyzed Bennu’s surface to identify the best area from which to retrieve a sample to bring back to Earth.  On October 20, 2020 the spacecraft conducted a very successful sample retrieval; so much material was obtained that it overflowed the container.  OSIRIS-REx is now waiting until March 2021 to depart Bennu.  The sample capsule will land on September 24, 2023 at the U.S. Air Force Test and Training Range in Utah, after which scientists around the world will study the materials for several years. 

Teledyne provided the digital “eyes” that were critical for the mission.   These imaging technologies operated flawlessly during the mission, taking visible images, measuring surface topology, and using visible-infrared spectroscopy to assess surface material composition.  The visible Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) sensors for the suite of three cameras were provided by Teledyne DALSA.  The scanning LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors that measured the rocky surface were provided by Teledyne Optech.  The visible-infrared sensors that measured surface composition were provided by Teledyne Imaging Sensors.​