What do you do in your job? Believe it or not, I scuba dive with astronauts for my job! I work with the Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission team. That means I get to help write the procedures and train the astronauts for their spacewalks to repair and improve Hubble. Although I spend a lot of time at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas, my home base is in Greenbelt, Maryland at Goddard Space Flight Center. That is where the new instruments and replacement units are assembled and tested before they are shipped to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch. IT is very exciting to be working one-on-one with the experts that designed this world-class telescope and see the great pictures of our universe through its optics.
Jackie - HST Wide Field Camera 3 Instrument Manager
What do you do in your job? I am the HST Wide Field Camera 3 Instrument Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. My team is responsible for ensuring that WFC3 meets its technical requirements, is assembled on time, and within cost. I direct several engineers, technicians and scientists working at about 10 major organizations around the country to ensure they deliver the best possible instrument to Hubble.
What do you wish you’d known then? It’s okay not to know the answer right away. It’s okay to ask teachers for help. It’s okay to risk failure. Never give up on your dream – persistence pays off.
What perks or other tangible benefits do you get? I call it “The lure of the Meatball” – in reference to the NASA logo. In engineering, there are certainly higher salaries and perks available outside the Government, but for me, a particular pride, professional independence, and technical excellence come along with working directly for NASA. I have an inherent ability to speak my mind and work in line with my technical conscience because I work for NASA, and I wouldn’t trade that for any amount of money.
Education B.S. in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Teri - HST Flight Servicing Project Thermal Systems Lead
What do you do in your job? I am the HST Flight Servicing Project Thermal Systems lead at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. My team is responsible for the thermal design, implementation, testing and installation of hardware for SM4.
What are the main areas for which you are responsible for Servicing Mission 4? Our three main areas of responsibility involve the new flight Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs) for Hubble that will enhance performance and extend the life of the telescope, flight support equipment and carriers that will safely stow hardware during the mission, and Crew Aids and Tools the astronauts will use to change out the ORUs. My team also ensures all flight hardware is maintained within its operating temperature limits during all phases of the mission.
Education BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.
What perks or other tangible benefits do you get? NASA has much to offer such as ample annual leave, a robust retirement plan, flexible work hours, free graduate education, access to a gym, and many clubs, including organized sports.
What school subjects do you use at work? I've used most of my math, physics, and engineering classes to some degree.
What critical choices or decisions did you make? In an all-girls high school, I had a choice of going with the popular (at the time) secretarial route or the science route. I chose science, which was the precursor to everything else I did academically and in my career.
What do you do in your job? I am the HST Lead Materials Assurance Engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. I determine the best material to use to build something, whether it is a new metal super alloy, a high strength plastic or highly reflective glass mirror. If components fail during ground testing it’s my job to determine why, and I also attempt to determine why materials degrade in space.
What specific things have you worked on? I helped build the new cameras for Hubble, and helped develop the glue which will hold a radiator to Hubble at minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Education Attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, N.C., for one year then completed a B.S. in Chemistry from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.
Art - Lead Mission Systems Engineer for Hubble Space Telescope
What do you do in your job? I am the Lead Mission Systems Engineer for Hubble Space Telescope at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. I am responsible for leading the HST systems engineering team through the development cycle – from defining initial requirements, through design, assembly, test, integration, launch and orbital operations.
What is your role in Servicing Mission 4? During SM4 I will serve as the HST Servicing Mission Manager on the planning shift. On this shift I begin my day between the time the astronauts complete an ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) or spacewalk, and when they sleep. I work with the entire HST and Shuttle operations teams to check-out the equipment they installed on the telescope during the previous EVA and prepare any required changes to procedures and notes for the next EVA.
Education B.A. in Mathematics from University of Rochester, a M.A. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas, Austin.
What or who inspired you to really go after your profession? My curiosity for understanding the universe and my desire to do what I can to understand our impact on the planet.
What do you do in your job? As a test engineer, I performed testing and evaluations on several components that were installed on Hubble during the last servicing mission and several more that will be installed on Hubble later this year.
Why do you do your job? I believe in Goddard Space Flight Center's commitment to Earth and space science. I have always had a strong commitment to understanding and reducing our impact on the planet. Since everything is made of materials, the Materials Engineering Branch where I work, is the perfect place to support GSFC and my own personal goals.
What obstacles did you face growing up and how did you overcome them? I developed kidney disease in high school and had to undergo regular blood tests and then dialysis treatments early in my career. The condition got me more active – running, soccer, cross-country skiing. With faith, and not a little soul searching about what I wanted from my career and life, I got through it.
What do you do in your job? I serve as a go-between for the testing customer who “owns” the instrument or spacecraft, and the testing crew. This is exciting because I get to be involved in numerous phases of testing, and learn a bit about how flight hardware is designed, built and tested.
What obstacles did you face growing up? Losing my father at a young age meant less money would be available for college. Just finding a way to attend college was a very big obstacle for me to overcome.
What do you do in your job? My job is to develop and test flight software used to command the Hubble Space Telescope. As a team, we write requirements and then create a design from the requirements. Software is developed in the C and C++ languages and then tested prior to being uploaded to the telescope.
What are the best and worst parts of your job? Flexible work schedule is the best and the worst is that deadlines are sometimes unrealistic.
What critical choices or decisions did you make growing up that helped you get to where you are today? I grew up in the US Virgin Islands and just choosing to go to college was my most critical decision. Back then, most kids were taking vocational education to get out into the Island workforce. I lot of people I knew were also enlisting in the military as a way off the island. I don't think I really had a choice - it was either college or the military - I took both.
Your quote/advice to kids? Don't look at what you don't have, make what you do have work for you.
Your quote/advice to kids? Diversity, broaden your skills, think about the big picture, work hard, and accept yourself.
What do you wish you’d known about education after high school? My dad was correct when he said that college isn’t about getting high grades….it is really about training your mind so that you can readily go out into a profession with the tools and skills to succeed and/or the drive to continue learning on the job the tools and skills necessary to succeed.
What do you do in your job? I manage the Hubble Flight Operations Team and the procedures they use to command Hubble and monitor it on a 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year basis.
Your quote/advice to kids? A problem is only an opportunity waiting to be solved.
What do you do in your job? I am a systems engineer, which means I get to be involved with everything! Since systems covers all areas, I get to learn all about the systems to operate Hubble. This includes everything from the development and installation of new flight software to implementing changes to the ground system used to command Hubble.
Why do you do your job? I am lucky to be one of the many who ensure the Hubble Space Telescop continues to operate and conduct fantastic science. I love being associated with the exciting science exploration Hubble does.
Kevin - Systems Engineer for Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys repair effort
What do you do in your job? I am the Systems Engineer for Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys repair effort. My team designed and built an electronics box, designed to keep it cool so it won’t overheat once installed on Hubble, tested the box to ensure it will withstand the rigors of launch, wrote software to run it, and updated the ground system software to control it. We also designed a way to cut into the existing instrument’s hardware in order to remove some of its electronics, and insert our new electronics. I collaborated with all the Hubble engineers and designers for this effort.
Education B.S. in Science from Princeton University, NJ, and a Ph.D from MIT, Massachusetts.