Ed Hirst, former mission system manager of NASA‘s Stardust comet sample return mission, has been appointed as project manager of the space agency’s Jupiter probe named Juno.
NASA said Thursday Hirst succeeds Rick Nybakken, who was named deputy director for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s office of safety and mission success.
Hirst previously served as mission manager of NASA’s Genesis solar wind sample return mission.
He joined JPL in 1993 as part of the mission planning and outreach coordination office of the Galileo project, which sought to study Jupiter and its moons.
Juno returned data to Earth on Tuesday that showed the spacecraft completed its eighth science flyby over Jupiter on Oct. 24.
Data transmission was delayed by days due to a solar conjunction at Jupiter — an event that could cause interference because the communication path between Earth and Jupiter is close to the sun.
Juno is slated to perform its next flyby of Jupiter on Dec. 16.
JPL manages Juno on behalf of Scott Bolton, the project’s principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.