KinetX, Inc. Provides Key Mission Design and Navigation Support for NASA Comet Hopper Mission Proposal
TEMPE, Ariz., June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — NASA announced in May, 2011, that the Comet Hopper mission, CHopper, is one of three finalists selected for further study in a competitive process that will select the next Discovery-class mission. The CHopper proposal plans to land a robotic spacecraft multiple times on the surface of comet 46P/Wirtanen and perform observations as it interacts with the Sun. KinetX, Inc. has partnered with University of Maryland Astronomer Jessica Sunshine, the principal investigator for CHopper, to be the primary provider of mission design and navigation support for the proposal. Over the next nine months, KinetX personnel with work closely with other members of the team from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Lockheed Martin to develop a detailed plan for implementation and flight operations called the concept study report. After the three mission concept studies are reviewed in early 2012, NASA will select one mission for further development leading up to launch in 2016.
KinetX, Inc. is the first commercial entity to provide spacecraft navigation services for NASA interplanetary missions and is currently providing similar mission design and navigation services for three NASA missions: the MESSENGER mission that is currently orbiting the planet Mercury, the New Horizons mission that is on its way to fly by Pluto in 2015, and the newly selected OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission that will launch in 2016.
SOURCE KinetX, Inc.