The Giotto mission

ESA's Giotto spacecraft was launched in July 1985 on an Ariane 1 rocket from Kourou, French Guyana, to begin its chase of Halley's Comet; this ended up with a close encounter (at 600 km from the nucleus) on 14 March 1986. The experimenters (including John) monitored the event at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Damstadt, Germany.

Early artistic representation of Comet Halley

MSSL Johnstone Plasma Analyser (JPA): Fast Ion Sensor, Data Processing Unit, Implanted Ion Sensor

Expanded view of JPA Fast Ion Sensor

Giotto integration tests in Toulouse

Thermal vacuum test at IABG, Friedrichshafen, Germany

Pre-launch tests in Kourou

Preparations for launch in Kourou

Giotto mounted on top of the Ariane 1 rocket

The experimenters team in Kourou

Giotto's launch from Kourou

The MSSL Giotto team in May 1986 (2 months after the encounter)

Halley encounter data from the JPA experiment