In mid-February the Canadian built OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft did not perform as expected. The mission team now have a better understanding of what happened.
Today the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) provided an update on its website on the status of OLA. The instrument shown below has two parts. An electronics box and a sensor head which has two lasers, a high-energy laser transmitter (HELT) and a low-energy laser transmitter (LELT).
The mission team has determined that the low-energy laser transmitter has failed and is no longer operable. The good news is the high-energy laser transmitter is still functioning as expected and will now be used for acquiring ranging data.
OLA has already completed its primary mission which included providing the data that helped determine the primary site, Nightingale, for sampling asteroid Bennu.
Tomorrow the spacecraft will use OLA’s high-energy laser transmitter (HELT) to provide ranging data to focus PolyCam during a 250-metre flyover of the Nightingale site. The mission is proceeding towards the eventual sample collection and return to Earth.