Press Release

NASA Media Briefing Set to Discuss Midair Capture of Genesis Spacecraft

By SpaceRef Editor
August 18, 2004
Filed under , ,
NASA Media Briefing Set to Discuss Midair Capture of Genesis Spacecraft

A news briefing about the upcoming midair capture of the
Genesis space capsule will be held at NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday,
Aug. 19.

Helicopter flight crews, navigators and mission engineers
continue to prepare for the
Sept. 8 return of the Genesis spacecraft — NASA’s first
sample return mission since
Apollo 17 brought back the last moon rocks in 1972. On Sept.
8, the Genesis spacecraft will deploy its sample return
capsule that will then re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. Waiting
below will be two helicopters and their flight crews ready to
make a spectacular midair capture at the U.S. Air Force Utah
Test and Training Range.

Specially trained helicopter pilots — who are moonlighting
from their jobs as Hollywood stunt pilots — will snag the
sample return capsule from midair using the Space-Age
equivalent of a fisherman’s rod and reel. The midair capture
event will be carried live on NASA TV.

The Genesis mission was launched in August 2001 to capture
samples from the storehouse of 99 percent of all the material
in our solar system — the Sun. These samples of solar wind
particles, collected on ultra-pure wafers of gold, sapphire,
silicon and diamond, are being returned for analysis by
Earth-bound scientists. The samples Genesis will provide will
supply scientists with vital information on the composition
of the Sun, and will shed light on the origins of our solar

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Charles Elachi, director of JPL
  • Dr. David Lindstrom, Genesis program scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Dr. Don Burnett, Genesis principal investigator, California Institute of Technology,
  • Pasadena, Calif.
  • Don Sweetnam, Genesis Project Manager, JPL
  • Roy Haggard, midair retrieval operations chief, Vertigo Incorporated, Lake Elsinore, Calif.
  • Dan Rudert, capture helicopter pilot, South Coast Helicopter, Santa Ana, Calif.

The news conference will be carried live on NASA Television,
with two-way question-and-answer capability from
participating NASA centers. It will be webcast live at:

NASA Television is available on AMC-6, transponder 9-C,
located at 72 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0
MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80
MHz. Reporters who would like to listen to events’ audio
should call: 818/354-6666. Additional listen-only service is
available by calling: 321/867-1220/1240/1260.

For more information about Genesis on the Internet, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.