Participants in Hayabusa re-entry airborne observing campaign.

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What: Airborne observation of the Hayabusa Sample Return Capsule re-entry over Australia, using a wide array of imaging and spectrographic cameras.

When: June 13, 2010

Where: Australia

Why: Fast re-entry, similar to that of probes sent to Mars, and similar to natural meteors. Only the second flight test of a thermal protection system under such conditions, following the Stardust SRC entry in January of 2006.

Who: International team of scientists (NASA, JAXA, ...), set up on a research aircraft operated by NASA

Mission statement: A mission to help evaluate the performance of thermal protection systems of atmospheric entry vehicles returning to Earth at superorbital velocities.
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Media inquiries:

Rachel Prucey, Public Affairs Office, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. Tel.: 1-650-6040643.


Jay H. Grinstead Stardust SRC Jay H. Grinstead – Hayabusa Re-Entry MAC Project manager (NASA Ames Research Center). The Hayabusa Re-Entry airborne observing campaign is managed by NASA Ames Research Center's Aerothermodynamics Branch (code TSA).

Franck Cutler Franck Cutler – DC-8 Airborne Laboratory mission manager (NASA Dryden Flight Research Center). The DC-8 aircraft is operated from the NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, CA.


Peter Jenniskens Mike Koop Peter Jenniskens – Hayabusa Re-Entry MAC Project Scientist and ECHELLE Instrument Principal Investigator (NASA Ames/SETI Institute). Meteor astronomer, expert in the observation of meteor showers and artificial meteors. Prior re-entry airborne missions included the Stardust sample return capsule entry in January of 2006 and that of ESA's new Automated Transfer Vehicle in September of 2008. SETI Institute volunteer Mike Koop (right) will operate the Echelle instrument during the Hayabusa Re-Entry MAC mission. Other members of the SETI Institute team include Jim Albers and REU student Erin Leidy.

David Buttsworth David Buttsworth – AUS Instrument P.I. and associate professor (University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia). An expert in re-entry aerodynamics, instrumentation, and computational simulation. Richard Morgan, director of the Centre for Hypersonics at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, will operate the AUS instrument during flight. Morgan is currently visiting the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia.

Hideyuki Tanno Hideyuki Tanno – Coordination with JAXA (JAXA/Kakuda Space Center). Responsible for coordination with JAXA mission control and lead of the airborne JAXA instrument team. The JAXA instrument will be operated by Takane Imada of JAXA.

Michael Winter Michael Winter – SLIT Instrument P.I. (NASA Ames Research Center). An expert on reentry flow radiation. A veteran of past Stardust and ATV reentry observing campaigns. The SLIT instrument collects light by means of a small telescope and then guides this light to a rack-mounted spectrograph, for high resolution spectroscopy. The instrument will be operated by Jay Grinstead of NASA Ames Research Center.

Ed Schilling Ed Schilling – THDTV Instrument P.I. (NASA Ames Research Center). Videographer, editor, producer, and branch chief of the NASA Ames Research Center Video and graphics branch. The camera will be operated by Jesse Carpenter and Greg Merkes. Schilling will also travel to Australia, but observe the reentry from the ground with a similar camera.

Ron Dantowitz Ron Dantowitz – REDONE and CCDS Instrument P.I. (Clay Center Observatory, Dexter and Southfield Schools, Brookline, MA). An expert on tracking and re-entry imaging. The CCO team will deploy a wide array of CCD spectrographs and high-resolution imagers for spectroscopy and imaging of the reentry. The CCO team consists also of staff member Marek Kozubal and students James Brietmeyer and Brigitte Berman.

Mike Taylor Mike Taylor – NIRSPEC Instrument P.I. (Utah State University, Logan). An atmospheric scientist and expert on airglow. Veteran of near-IR imaging and spectroscopy of meteors and re-entry phenomena in past campaigns. NIRSPEC will be operated by Jonathan Sniveley of the Utah State University at Logan. A second instrument will be operated by David Anderson of NASA's Glenn Research Center.

Hans Stenbaek-Nielsen Hans Stenbeak-Nielsen – HFRS Instrument P.I. (University of Alaska, Fairbanks). An atmospheric scientist and expert on auroral observations and observations of sprites. Veteran of intensified high framerate spectroscopy and imaging of meteors and re-entry phenomena in past airborne observing campaigns. HFRS will be operated by Michael Dearborn of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.

Christina Giannopapa Bart Janssen Christina Giannopapa – TERAS Instrument P.I. (Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands). The TERAS instrument was also deployed during the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC mission and will provide high framerate imaging of the reentry. The instrument will be operated by Bart Janssen of the Eindhoven University of Technology (right).

Rick Rairden Rick Rairden – IUV Instrument P.I. (Lockheed Martin). A space instrumentation specialist and veteran of intensified near-UV spectroscopy of past airborne observing campaigns.

Stefan Loehle Stefan Loehle – FIPS Instrument P.I. (Institut fuer Raumfahrtsysteme, University of Stuttgart, Germany). An expert on reentry flow radiation. The Fabry Perot spectrometer instrument aims to measure high resolution spectral line profiles of oxygen and nitrogen lines to probe the physical conditions in the shockwave. The FIPS instrument will be operated by Thomas Marynowski of the University of Stuttgart.

Alan Cassell Alan Cassell – DIM Instrument P.I. (NASA Ames Research Center, CA). An expert on reentry flow radiation modeling. Cassell works with Jim Albers to support the Hayabusa Re-Entry MAC navigation team.


Katsu Fujita Kazuhisa Fujita – Team Lead of Hayabusa Joint Science Team for re-entry observations (University of Tokyo, Japan). Responsible for coordination of the ground-based observations for JAXA. Airborne campaign veterans Masayuki Yamamoto and Dr. Shinsuke Abe will participate in the JAXA-coordinated ground-based observations.

David Buttsworth David Buttsworth – Lead of ground-based observations for University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia. USQ will deploy several ground-based observers to execute spectroscopic studies of the entry in support of the Australian Ultraviolet Spectrometer airborne observing team. The group will split in two teams, one north of the trajectory, and one south of the trajectory.

Paul Maley Paul D. Maley – Imaging (NASA JSC). A veteran of re-entry observations. Team lead of the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" Re-entry observing campaign JSCINT instrument observations from the Gulfstream aircraft. Maley's efforts will be focussed on 3-D trajectory reconstruction in support of the airborne observations from the north location.

Ron Dantowitz Ron Dantowitz – (Clay Center Observatory, Dexter and Southfield Schools, Brookline, MA). Will coordinate the two-member CCO team, which will deploy CCD spectrographs for spectroscopy of the reentry at the north location.

Ed Schilling Ed Schilling – THDTV Instrument P.I. (NASA Ames Research Center). Videographer, editor, producer, and branch chief of the NASA Ames Research Center Video and graphics branch. Schilling will observe from a site south of the trajectory.

Chris Kitting Chris Kitting – High-resolution imaging and spectroscopy (California State University East Bay). A marine biologist who is also an active amateur astronomer and veteran of the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC re-entry observations. Kitting will lead the deployment of SETI Institute spectrometers for the Hayabusa re-entry ground-based observations.

Bill Dolson Reentry art Bill Dolson – Videographer and artist. Bill Dolson's Large Scale series of art works, begun in 2004, comprise vast ephemeral land art pieces which either occur in the sky or are meant to be viewed from above. These pieces involve dynamic geophysical events including synthetic meteor showers. The sheer scale of these works makes their ultimate realization extremely difficult. As a volunteer member of the SETI Institute ground-team, Dolson's videographic study of the Hayabusa Re-Entry will support the study of the main bus breakup as well as the trajectory analysis and reconstruction effort.

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Curator: Peter Jenniskens
Responsible NASA Official: Jay H. Grinstead

Last update: March 24, 2010

Hosted by: The SETI Institute

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