Warwick Holmes: Public Talk on the Rosetta Mission

Warwick Holmes speaking to audience

Network Leader Professor Iver Cairns introducing Warwick Holmes

Sydney SpaceNet and Sydney Ideas co-hosted a talk by spacecraft systems engineer Warwick Holmes on Thursday 10th May 2016. There were over 200 people in attendance for a wonderfully engaging and fascinating talk about the Rosetta Mission. Sydney SpaceNet received glowing feedback from attendees after the event.

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to Comet-67P is the first interplanetary mission to orbit and land a spacecraft on a Comet. Rosetta is also the first mission to successfully fly beside a comet in its trajectory through the Solar System monitoring how a dormant frozen comet is transformed by the warmth of the Sun.

The engineering challenge to achieve this unprecedented success has been heralded around the world as the most difficult and complex spacecraft mission since the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The Rosetta spacecraft has flown 8 billion km since its launch 12 years ago including five orbits around the Sun, three Earth gravity assists, two asteroid flyby’s and a gravity assist past Mars. Twenty one complex instruments carried by Rosetta and Philae have performed in-situ measurements at Comet-67P.

Important aspects of the Rosetta mission were presented, including the design, building, testing, launch and interplanetary trajectory to reach the comet. Breathtaking images taken on the surface of Comet-67P by the Philae lander probe and some of the scientific results of the mission were also presented.

About the speaker

Warwick Holmes next to Rosetta Spacecraft

Warwick Holmes and the Rosetta Spacecraft

For the last 29 years Warwick Holmes (BE (Elec) ’86 BSc’84 Sydney) has built, tested and launched ten different spacecraft, totalling 37 tons in orbit, for the European Space Agency including; interplanetary exploration, earth observation, space observatories, telecommunications, navigation and manned spacecraft programs.