Concept of Operations for OSIRIS-REx Optical Navigation Image Planning

Coralie D. Adam, Peter G. Antreasian, Brian T. Carcich, Jason M. Leonard, Erik J. Lessac-Chenen, Leilah K. McCarthy, Derek S. Nelson, John Y. Pelgrift, Eric M. Sahr, Daniel R. Wibben, Sara Knutson, Heather L. Enos, Karl Harshman, Carl Hergenrother, John N. Kidd, Diane Lambert, Anjani T. Polit, Bashar Rizk, Dante S. Lauretta, Olivia BillettMykal Lefevre, Michael C. Moreau, Brent J. Bos, Andrew Calloway, Nayi Castro, Joseph Cavaluzzi, Kenneth M. Getzandanner, Ronald Mink, Devin Poland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Optical navigation (OpNav) is a critical subsystem of the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, which operated in the vicinity of near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu from August 2018 through April 2021. A substantial amount of mission resources across multiple subsystems and institutions is required to ensure that the OpNav data are successfully acquired. The KinetX OpNav team, part of the Flight Dynamics System (FDS), is responsible for performing required analysis to develop the OpNav operations plans; requesting, reviewing and verifying the plans; and ultimately using the image data for critical navigation operations. The FDS team, responsible for the mission navigation, is operated by KinetX Aerospace with management and operations support from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The Science Processing and Operations Center (SPOC), located at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, is responsible for generating the planning products for all science and most OpNav data. These plans are integrated into the spacecraft sequences, tested, and commanded by the Mission Support Area (MSA) at Lockheed Martin Space. To ensure mission-critical navigation image data are successfully acquired, the plan is developed through a waterfall of planning cycles over the course of 3 months prior to onboard plan execution. During the initial strategic planning for a mission phase, detailed analysis is performed by the OpNav team to conceptualize the concept of operations (ConOps) for image data collection. This phase OpNav Narrative is included along with other strategic planning documents for the key ground segment stakeholders to review and provide feedback. The detailed OpNav plans get defined in the tactical planning cycle, which spans 8 to 3 weeks before the week-long integrated sequence is executed on-board the spacecraft. During the tactical cycle, the initial OpNav Request is submitted along with the science requests, kicking off development of the science and OpNav plans. Once the initial plan is drafted, interfaces are exercised so that the plan can be reviewed and iterated, if necessary. A rigorous schedule is followed by the planning teams during the implementation cycle, spanning the last 18 days before uplink, to ensure all the necessary integration, testing, and reviewing can occur on time. The development of the OpNav planning ConOps, including responsibilities, interfaces, timelines, and procedures, took extensive collaboration across mission elements and institutions. The process was robust throughout the 137 weeks of continuous Optical Navigation Operations at Bennu, which concluded on April 9th, 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA SciTech Forum 2022
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624106316
StatePublished - 2022
EventAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2022 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jan 3 2022Jan 7 2022

Publication series

NameAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2022


ConferenceAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Concept of Operations for OSIRIS-REx Optical Navigation Image Planning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this