JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
A C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 437th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, delivered NASA's Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, to Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 20, 2016.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will travel to a near-Earth asteroid, called Bennu and bring at least a 2.1 ounce sample back to Earth for study. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improving the understanding of how asteroids could impact Earth.
"We were excited to partner with NASA to enable this important mission," said Col. John Lamontagne, 437th Airlift Wing commander. "Whether we're delivering supplies to the warfighter overseas, airdropping lifesaving humanitarian assistance to those in need or providing airlift support to other agencies like NASA, it's our job to deliver the right effects, to the right place, at the right time."
OSIRIS-REx is scheduled for launch in September 2016. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.
The OSIRIS-REx mission seeks answers to questions central to the human experience: Where did we come from? What is our destiny? OSIRIS-REx is going to Bennu, a carbon-rich asteroid that records the earliest history of our solar ystem, and will be bringing a piece of it back to Earth. Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth's oceans. Bennu is also a potentially hazardous asteroid with a chance of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century. OSIRIS-REx will determine Bennu's physical and chemical properties, which will be critical to refining the impact probability estimate and developing an impact mitigation strategy, if necessary.