Christopher P. Jones, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, has been appointed project manager of NASA'S Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), which is scheduled for launch in 2005.
Jones will oversee the design, development and testing of SIM, a mission that will locate stars and search for other planetary systems within the Milky Way galaxy by detecting the wobble of stars created by planets orbiting around them. The mission will also look for signs of planet formation in disks of material orbiting other stars.
The spacecraft's interferometer will combine and process light gathered by multiple telescopes to calibrate the age, distance and motion of objects in the universe, Jones said. In addition, SIM is one of several missions planned for NASA's Origins program, which is designed to study galaxies and stars and look for other solar systems beyond Earth's own Sun.
"SIM will make precise measurements over very great distances with extraordinary accuracy and stability," Jones said. "I look forward to the challenge of quickly bringing forward the needed technology."
Jones has spent the past seven years as spacecraft development manager for the Cassini mission and served as mission director at JPL during the successful launch of the spacecraft on Oct. 15. During his 28 years at JPL, Jones has managed the Laboratory's Spacecraft Systems Engineering and Guidance and Control Sections and contributed to the design, test and flight operations of such planetary spacecraft as Mariner 9, Voyager and Galileo.
Jones holds a masters degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California and has received numerous NASA awards and citations, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his design of the Voyager spacecraft fault protection system.
Jones, a native of the Los Angeles area, lives in Pasadena with his wife and son.
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