| | Published 20 January 2006 Valley Firm Steers Pluto Ship
Thursdays launch of NASAs New Horizons mission to Pluto was being monitored extra closely by
a small company in Tempe called KinetX, Inc.
In fact, the company will be watching the mission closely for the next nine-plus years as the spacecraft
makes the 3 billion-mile journey to the outer reaches of the solar system.
KinetX is responsible for navigating the spacecraft and operating its camera once it arrives at Pluto
sometime in 2015. A team from the company is based at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns
Hopkins University, which is running the mission for NASA.
Were pretty excited, KinetX President and CEO Michael Fisher said after
Thursdays successful launch. Fisher said his company would gather all the data and
parameters the spacecraft would need to make the journey. The 1,054-pound spacecraft, the size of
a concert grand piano, will photograph the surfaces of Pluto and its moon, Charon, and also will study
the frozen, sunless reaches of the solar system known as the Kuiper Belt. KinetX, founded in 1992
by a group of Lockheed engineers, also is navigating a spacecraft bound for Mercury to orbit and
photograph that planet.
We are very happy because weve got two spacecraft we are navigating, and we hope to get more
missions, Fisher said.
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