NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is launching tonight from Cape Canaveral, where it will enter orbit and then begin its journey to land on a nearby asteroid. In 2018, OSIRIS will land on the asteroid Bennu and then bring a sample back to Earth in 2023. The video above will provide a live stream from NASA where you can watch OSIRIS launch.
The launch is scheduled take place tonight, Thursday evening, at 7:05 p.m. Eastern. Times might vary slightly depending on the two-hour launch window. If the video above doesn’t work, you can also watch a live stream in the video below.
NASA will begin providing live coverage and commentary of the OSIRIS-REx launch at 5:30 p.m. Eastern, with the launch scheduled to happen at 7:05. A post-launch news conference will then be broadcast at 9 p.m. If you tune in earlier, you’ll see a replay of the pre-launch news conference at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Eastern.
Here’s what you can expect to happen during the launch. The Atlas 5 rocket will carry the OSIRIS-REx into space. About 57 seconds after the rocket launches, it will reach Mach 1, SpaceFlightNow reported. It will next jettison the solid rocket booster. The common core booster first stage will then separate from the Centaur upper stage. At this point, the Centaur RL10 engine will ignite and the OSIRIS-REx will enter an Earth “parking orbit.” Once the vehicle reaches the right location, the engine will reignite and propel OSIRIS-REx on its journey toward Bennu. You can read more step-by-step details at SpaceFlightNow here.
Once the craft arrives at Bennu, it will start a multiple-year journey mapping the asteroid and bringing home a sample. Scientists believe the asteroid may be as old as 4.5 billion years. To prepare for the launch, watch this video provided by NASA that explains the craft’s mission: