Systems Engineering Seminar

Touchstone: The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Mission

Presented by:
Ronald Mink, Code 592

Monday, September 9, 2013, 1:00 pm
Building 8 Auditorium


Touchstone: The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Mission

One definition of touchstone is “a criterion or standard by which judgment is made.” This word also captures the essence of the OSIRIS-REx mission – to touch (touch-and-go sampling) a stone (asteroid), retrieve a regolith sample, and return it to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Mission, or DRM, was developed soon after the mission was first conceived as a proposal to NASA’s Discovery Program nearly a decade ago to keep the mission design and development team focused on its core asteroid sample return objective. The DRM describes in detail the mission plan to get to the target, asteroid (101955) Bennu, rendezvous with it, fly the spacecraft in close proximity to characterize Bennu’s surface and identify the most promising sample site, navigate to the surface to collect a sample, secure it, and safely return it to the Earth’s surface. The DRM has been used to formulate and refine the requirements on the spacecraft, science instruments, and ground system to ensure the integrated mission system is optimized for asteroid sample collection and return, and scenarios derived from the DRM will be used to verify and validate the system before launch and to exercise the operations team prior to arrival at Bennu. This talk will describe the DRM, how it helped to secure OSIRIS-REx as NASA’s third New Frontiers mission, and how it continues to be used as a touchstone for guiding the mission’s design and development.



Ron Mink is a Senior Mission Systems Engineer in the Mission Engineering Services and Advanced Concepts Branch, Code 592, and currently serves as Deputy Mission Systems Engineer for the OSIRIS-REx Project. In his role on OSIRIS-REx Ron has lead the development of the Design Reference Mission since the Step 1 proposal effort in 2008 – 2009. For his work on the winning OSIRIS-REx Phase A Concept Study Report for NASA’s New Frontiers Program, Ron received the 2011 Robert H. Goddard Award for Exceptional Achievement in Engineering and the 2012 NASA Exceptional Service Medal. Ron is a graduate of GSFC’s Systems Engineering Education and Development (SEED) Program.



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