Laurence O’Rourke is Irish and has being working in the European Space Agency since 1996, located at 3 of its establishments (ESTEC, ESOC and currently ESAC in Madrid) as an Engineer and a Scientist. He has worked on 5 satellite missions for ESA during this time. In Rosetta, he was part of the flight control team in ESOC at the time of its launch in 2004. After launch he moved to work on the Integral mission (ESA Gamma Ray observatory) followed by the Herschel mission (ESA Infrared Space observatory). On Herschel he was the deputy science operations manager for the mission.
In 2011 he returned to work on the Rosetta mission and is one of two Science operations coordinators (the other being Michael Küppers) in the mission leading a team in ESAC. This team interacts with the 11 instrument teams and the Philae Lander teams located around Europe and the US. The team is responsible for the planning of their science operations which involves defining the science trajectory around the comet, pointing the spacecraft at the comet, providing the instrument commanding and checking the success of the executed observations when they have been completed on board. He has published various science articles on comets and asteroids with his most notable recent publication being in Nature with Michael Kúppers concerning the confirmed detection of water in the asteroid belt, namely on Dwarf Planet (1) Ceres.