On the Way To Bennu and Back 

“Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again”; Not exactly, but I can say that my name is officially out of this world! 

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 411 rocket injected the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft into a hyperbolic trajectory away from Earth where it began a seven-year mission to return an asteroid sample. 

My name, along with 439,999 others set off on that journey tonight. A journey to land on an asteroid named Bennu. 

If you’re unfamiliar with Bennu, it is about 500 meters in diameter and has a 1 in 2500 chance of colliding with Earth in the next 200 years. Allow me to refer you to the experts for more information.

Liftoff took place at Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida. I wasn’t able to attend but I watched the launch tonight at 7:05 PM ET; couldn’t help but hold the phone to unsteadily record my TV screen. ​

(My apologies for the quality and background noise)

I’ll watch it often to remind myself that there are big things happening out there! ​I’m happy to be even a tiny part of something so huge. 

It’s one of those events that could change the world. #ToBennuAndBack #2023

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