KinetX Aerospace navigation team proves essential for understanding asteroid ejected particles

KinetX Aerospace has announced its Space Navigation and Flight Dynamics Optical Navigation Team is providing critical results to NASA´s OSIRIS-REx Science Team, the company said.

The navigation team is being used for understanding and explaining the underlying mechanism(s) of the ejecta from the Asteroid Bennu. The mission and science team are led by OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona. The results of this collaboration are published in the Science article entitled Episodes of particle ejection from the surface of the active asteroid (101955) Bennu.

In response to the discovery in January 2019 of particles ejecting from the surface of asteroid (101955) Bennu by OSIRIS-REx, the KinetX navigation team reconstructed the ejected particles´ trajectories to help characterize these unexpected events. The image processing optical navigation software suite, developed by KinetX, was utilized in combination with both traditional orbit determination techniques and new techniques developed specifically for analyzing these events when there was not enough data for traditional orbit determination. This led to the estimation of properties such as the ejection locations on the surface of the asteroid and the particle ejection velocities.

Working with NASA´s Goddard Space Flight Center, KinetX is also the lead organization responsible for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft built and operated by Lockheed Martin Space.

KinetX Aerospace specializes in the design, development, and operation of large-scale space systems, in addition to its work on deep space missions.