Thomas Duxbury has been named project manager of NASA's Stardust mission to collect a comet sample and return it to Earth. The mission is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Duxbury, who has served as Stardust's acting project manager for the past year, replaces Dr. Kenneth Atkins, who now heads a JPL program to develop the leadership of the Laboratory's projects.
Duxbury joined the Stardust project as mission manager in 1996 and was responsible for a wide range of elements including navigation, mission design, the ground data system, science data management and archive and mission operations. Stardust, launched in February 1999, is en route to Comet Wild-2 to capture a sample of material and then return the sample to Earth in 2006.
A native of Fort Wayne, Ind., Duxbury attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering. Upon graduating in 1966, he started work at JPL in the field of optical navigation on the Mariner 6 and 7 missions to Mars.
Duxbury has served on numerous planetary mission teams including the Mariner 6, 7, 9 and 10 missions; the Mars Viking mission that sent two landers and two orbiters to Mars; the Pioneers 10 and 11 missions to Jupiter and Saturn; Voyagers 1 and 2 to the outer planets; the Soviet Phobos Mission to Mars; the Mars Observer mission; the Department of Defense/NASA Clementine mission that studied the Moon; and the Russian Mars 1996 mission. He has served on many NASA panels and working groups such as the NASA Planetary Cartography and Geologic Mapping Working Group and the Russian/U.S. Joint Working Group on Solar System Exploration for Mars Mission Coordination and Science Data Exchange.
In addition to his new Stardust role, Duxbury is a member of the science teams for the Mars Global Surveyor's laser altimeter and the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter and lander. He is also the lead scientist for geodesy and cartography in the Mars Exploration Office. His roles on past missions have included engineering and scientific data analysis on highly irregularly shaped and rotating planetary bodies.
For his pioneering work in characterizing Mars' moons Phobos and Deimos, Duxbury received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. He has also received eight NASA Group Awards and the Institute of Navigation Burka Award. He received the Soviet Flight Control Center Medal, being the only American in Moscow supporting the Phobos '88 encounter and landing operations. He is listed in American Men and Women in Science and in Who's Who in America.
He lives in Pasadena with his wife, Dr. Natalia Duxbury, a scientist at JPL. Stardust is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.
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