NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission

Brian K. Muirhead, project manager for NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission that delivered a lander and rover to the surface of Mars, has been named project manager for the Deep Space 4/Champollion mission to a comet.

Planned for launch in 2003, the Deep Space 4/Champollion spacecraft will rendezvous with Comet Tempel 1 in 2005 and spend several months orbiting the comet nucleus making high-resolution maps of its surface. The spacecraft will deploy a lander with a 1-meter-long (3.3-foot) drill to collect samples that will be analyzed on-site; an attempt will be made to return a sample to Earth in 2010.

The project is part of the Deep Space mission series under the NASA/JPL New Millennium Program, designed to perform flight demonstrations of new spacecraft technologies for solar system and Earth-orbiting missions.

A native of Chicago, Muirhead joined JPL in 1978 and has worked on missions including Galileo to Jupiter and the Earth- orbiting Spaceborne Imaging Radar (SIR-C). Muirhead also managed JPL's Advanced Spacecraft Development Group and Mechanical Systems Integration Section. He joined the Mars Pathfinder mission as flight system manager and was responsible for the design, development, test and launch of the spacecraft. After launch, he served as deputy project manager before being named project manager upon Pathfinder's successful landing in July 1997.

Muirhead holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico and a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech.

News Media Contact