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45th SW supports NASA’s successful launch

The 45th Space Wing supported NASA’s successful launch of the OSIRIS REx spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 here September 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET. This is the first U.S. mission that will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu to collect surface samples. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023, according to NASA. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance)

The 45th Space Wing supported NASA’s successful launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Sept. 8, 2016. This is the first U.S. mission that will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu to collect surface samples. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023, according to NASA. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance)

The 45th Space Wing supported NASA’s successful launch of the OSIRIS REx spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 here September 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET. This is the first U.S. mission that will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu to collect surface samples. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023, according to NASA. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance)

The 45th Space Wing supported NASA’s successful launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Sept. 8, 2016. This is the first U.S. mission that will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu to collect surface samples. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023, according to NASA. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance)

The 45th Space Wing supported NASA’s successful launch of the OSIRIS REx spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 here September 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET. This is the first U.S. mission that will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu to collect surface samples.  As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023, according to NASA. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance)

The 45th Space Wing supported NASA’s successful launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Sept. 8, 2016. This is the first U.S. mission that will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu to collect surface samples. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023, according to NASA. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (AFNS) -- The 45th Space Wing supported NASA’s successful launch of the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Ex) spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 here Sept. 8.

The ULA Atlas V rocket is carrying NASA’s OSIRIS-REx on the first U.S. mission that will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu to collect surface samples. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023, according to NASA.

“Congratulations to ULA, NASA and the entire integrated team who ensured the success of this launch,” said Col. Walt Jackim, the 45th SW vice commander and mission launch decision authority. “We truly have a tremendous space team supporting this historic mission -- the first since the Apollo program where we will bring a sample back from space. It’s my honor to be a part of this mission supporting the space industry. Assured access to space is a team sport and here on the Eastern Range, we continue to prove we are the ‘world’s premier gateway to space.’”