| | Published 15 September 2010
KinetX Sponsors NASA Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the First Comet Encounter
On September 10, 2010, KinetX, Inc., a Tempe, Arizona firm providing innovative engineering, software
and hardware solutions to a wide variety of industries, hosted a conference celebrating the 25th
anniversary of the first comet encounter by a robotic spacecraft.
That first encounter happened on September 11, 1985 when the ISEE-3/ICE spacecrafts ongoing
mission at a Sun-Earth libration was interrupted to target it to intercept the path of the comet
Giacobini-Zinner. This bold, flawlessly executed move by NASA and the ISEE-3/ICE team provided the
first-ever comet encounter, establishing a foundation for the space-born discoveries that continue
The conference held at the Newseum in Washington,
D.C. was attended by industry and NASA notables. Dr. James Green, NASAs Director of
Planetary Science, gave a session on comets as well as the luncheon address. Dwayne Brown, NASA HQ
spokesperson, served as emcee. Principle Investigators from past and present comet missions
included Dr. Joseph Ververke (Stardust-NExT) and Dr. Michael AHearn
(Deep Impact/EPOXI). Other participants included KinetX Dr. Robert Farquhar, former
flight dynamics manager of the ISEE-3/ICE mission, and Dr. Anita Cochran, assistant director of the
McDonald Observatory at the University of
Texas at Austin, who discussed what we have (and hope to) learn from cometary science.
The successful Deep Impact and Stardust missions as well as their exciting follow-on missions, EPOXI and
Stardust-NExT, respectively, were discussed in detail. NASAs
EPOXI mission will most closely encounter the
Hartley 2 comet on November 4, 2010. NASAs
Stardust-NExT mission will most closely
encounter the Tempel 1 comet on February 14, 2011.
Concluding remarks were provided by Dwayne Brown and KinetX President and CEO, Kjell Stakkestad.
The presentations were broadcast live on NASA TV.
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