NASA launched its OSIRIS-REx probe today on America’s first mission to snag samples from a near-Earth asteroid and bring them back to Earth – and added a Star Trek twist.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, tricked out with a single solid rocket booster, sent up the car-sized spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 7:05 p.m. ET (4:05 p.m. PT) today. Crowds gathered around the launch site to watch, and myriads more kept an eye on NASA TV’s video stream.
As NASA launch commentator Mike Curie announced OSIRIS-REx’s liftoff, he gave a nod to the “Star Trek” TV saga, which made its U.S. premiere 50 years ago today.
“Its seven-year mission: to boldly go to the asteroid Bennu and back,” said Curie, echoing the show’s traditional intro.