Designing to sample the unknown: Lessons from OSIRIS-REx project systems engineering

David Everett, Ronald Mink, Timothy Linn, Joshua Wood
2017 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference  
On September 8, 2016, the third NASA New Frontiers mission launched on an Atlas V 411. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) will rendezvous with asteroid Bennu in 2018, collect a sample in 2020, and return that sample to Earth in September 2023. The development team has overcome a number of challenges in order to design and build a system that will make contact with an unexplored, airless, low-gravity body. This paper will
more » ... s paper will provide an overview of the mission, then focus in on the system-level challenges and some of the key systemlevel processes. Some of the lessons here are unique to the type of mission, like discussion of operating at a largely-unknown, low-gravity object. Other lessons, particularly from the build phase, have broad implications. The OSIRIS-REx risk management process was particularly effective in achieving an on-time and under-budget development effort. The systematic requirements management and verification and the system validation also helped identify numerous potential problems. The final assessment of the OSIRIS-REx performance will need to wait until the sample is returned in 2023, but this post-launch assessment will capture some of the key systems-engineering lessons from the development team.
doi:10.1109/aero.2017.7943586 fatcat:jjl5w377j5da3nbqm66hdwkz5q