York U celebrates launch of OSIRIS-REx mission


TORONTO, Sept. 6 – York University, the lead university for Canada’s instrument contribution to NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, will celebrate the mission’s launch to the asteroid Bennu on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Along with first-year York U space science and engineering students, undergraduate and graduate students involved in space research at the Lassonde School of Engineering will help celebrate the launch, which will be live streamed from NASA’s Cape Canaveral launch site for the York U community.

Speakers will include former student Grant Cunningham, now at Teledyne Optech, an industrial partner involved in the design of the Canadian instrument who will talk about his involvement and his time at York U, and York U’s Vice-President Research & Innovation Robert Haché.

"The OSIRIX-REx mission is a prime example of York University expertise being brought to the international table in support of an exceptional collaborative scientific endeavor,” said Haché. “This project, with York as the lead Canadian university, showcases York's leadership in space science, which also includes York's significant contributions to Mars exploration, and demonstrates that there is no limit to where research excellence can take us as students, scholars, and as a university."

The Planetary Exploration Instrumentation Laboratory at York U is playing a pivotal role in the instrumentation for the spacecraft. Professor Michael Daly – in Florida for the launch – is the lead Canadian instrument scientist for Canada’s contribution of the OSIRIS-Rex Laser Altimeter (OLA), the most sophisticated laser altimeter ever to visit an asteroid. OLA and the Canadian science team are funded by the Canadian Space Agency.

The altimeter will create a 3D model of the asteroid for science as well as provide critical information that will help direct the spacecraft to a good spot to extract a sample for return to Earth.

The celebration recognizes the positive impact cutting-edge space research has on students and their learning, especially as York U is a national leader in space science.

When: Thursday, Sept. 8, from 6 to 7:30pm

Where: Room 125, Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence, York University. See number 81 on map.

What: Launch celebration of OSIRIS-REx

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Through cross-discipline programming, innovative course design, diverse experiential learning and a supportive community environment, our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni.


Media Contact:
Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 22097/sandramc@yorku.ca