Chairman Message
Tutorial Overview
Technical Program
Keynote Speakers
Social Events
SSC Committee


Keynote Speaker

Ed Hawkins

Luncheon Speaker

Nicola Fox

Luncheon Speaker

Betsy Congdon

Keynote Speaker

Melissa Trainer

Tuesday Keynote Speaker - Ed Hawkins - Europa Clipper Mission

Dr. Edward Hawkins, III will speak about the Europa Clipper mission to place a spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter in order to perform a detailed investigation of the Galilean moon, Europa. The mission poses many technological challenges, requiring the spacecraft and payload to perform in one of the harshest environments in the solar system. Meeting those challenges promises to return insights into a world that shows strong evidence for a liquid water ocean beneath an icy crust. The water oceans could host conditions favorable for life. This talk provides an overview of the mission, details of the primary imaging instrument, EIS, and how one designs an instrument to observe this unexplored world while satisfying the severe planetary protection requirements and surviving the harsh radiation environment.

Dr. Hawkins received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, then joined the Space Sector of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory developing space instruments. He has led numerous instrument development efforts, including the NEAR-Shoemaker multi-spectral imager, the Ulysses HI-SCALE instrument and the MESSENGER MDIS instrument, and most recently, he is developing the dual camera system on the Europa Clipper Mission.

After the University of Maryland, Ed continued his educational pursuits while continuing to design and build space instruments at JHU/APL, receiving a Master of Science in applied physics, a Master of Arts in physics, and a Doctor of Philosophy in physics, all from The Johns Hopkins University (JHU). For more than ten years he has been teaching graduate courses in the Applied Physics curriculum in the Whiting School of Engineering at JHU. Dr. Hawkins is currently a member of the JHU/APL Principal Professional Staff and supervisor of the Optical Systems Development Sector. To Top

Tuesday Luncheon Speakers - Nicola Fox and Betsy Congdon

In order to unlock the mysteries of the Sun's corona, but also to protect a society that is increasingly dependent on technology from the threats of space weather, the Parker Solar Probe is being sent to touch the sun. Nicky Fox, Parker Solar Probe's project scientist, and Betsy Congdon, lead engineer for the thermal protection system will present goals and status of the mission.

Dr. Nicola “Nicky” Fox joined the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in 1998 as a research scientist where she studied various aspects of the geospace impact of coronal mass ejection events from the Sun. She serves as the Chief Scientist for Heliophysics in the Space Research Branch. Nicky is the project scientist for the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) where her main role is to ensure the scientific integrity of the mission. She represents the PSP science team in all aspects of the project, leads the Science Working Group activities and liaises with the mission engineering team and the NASA/Goddard and Headquarters program offices.

Prior to joining APL, Nicky was a USA National Research Council fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and a research scientist at Raytheon, with special responsibilities for the operations of the NASA Polar spacecraft and the International Solar Terrestrial Physics Program. She earned a Ph.D. in physics from the Imperial College of Science & Technology, a master’s of science degree in telematics from the University of Surrey, and a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Imperial College of Science & Technology.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Congdon is a member of the Senior Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. She has more than 10 years of experience in the analysis, design, manufacture, integration and test of space flight hardware for NASA programs. She was the Lead Engineer for the Thermal Protection System for Parker Solar Probe. Betsy spent the first decade of her career developing and testing the solar shield.

Currently, she is the Lead Mechanical Engineer for NASA’s DART mission. She has experience in extreme environment design, material testing, and manufacturing. She has authored several papers on materials and testing development for the Parker Solar Probe mission. She holds a B.S in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University.

To Top

Wednesday Keynote Speaker - Melissa Grady Trainer - Dragonfly Mission

Dr. Melissa Trainer will speak about the Dragonfly rotorcraft lander mission. It is proposed as a New Frontiers Program that is designed to take advantage of Titan's environment to be able to sample materials and determine the surface composition in different geologic settings. This revolutionary mission concept would provide the capability to explore diverse locations to characterize the habitability of Titan's environment, to investigate how far prebiotic chemistry has progressed, and even to search for chemical signatures that could be indicative of water-based and/or hydrocarbon-based life.

Melissa is a Research Space Scientist in the Planetary Environments Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, with research interests in the composition of planetary atmospheres and the production of organic molecules and aerosols via atmospheric synthesis. She currently serves as the Associate Lab Chief of the Planetary Environments Lab.

Dr. Trainer was a Co-Investigator and Deputy Instrument Scientist for the cryogenic sampling inlet and Neutral Mass Spectrometer on the proposed Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) Mission, which completed Phase A study in 2012. She was a Co-Investigator on the Discovery Candidate Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging (DAVINCI) mission, which completed Phase A study in 2016. She is one of two deputy PIs and the lead for the mass spectrometer on the Dragonfly mission concept to Titan, which is conducting a Phase A study under consideration for New Frontiers.

Dr. Trainer completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Franklin and Marshall College in 2000, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Abstract Mathematics. She completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Colorado in 2006. To Top