MMS Manager Roberto Alemán Learns It's All Relative
Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission Observatory Manager Roberto M. Alemán eventually discovered that the person here whom he most admired was actually a very distant relative.
What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?
I am in charge of building our MMS observatory which consists of four large spacecraft, so I attend a lot of information-gathering meetings to stay up-to-date on our progress.
I work out of my office but also spend countless hours visiting team members on Center. In addition, I travel a little to monitor progress of our procured hardware.
Lots of ground support equipment will be manufactured to be able to handle all the pieces of hardware needed to put together the four MMS spacecraft. As I manage an outstanding team of over 100, teamwork is definitely critical in getting the job done.
Who is the most interesting, inspiring, or amazing person you have met or worked with at Goddard?
Dr. Mario Acuña, who recently passed away, was a world expert on magnetometers who worked here. He was an engineer and a scientist. Despite his fame, he always had time to share his life and work experiences with others including me. A few years after meeting him, I found out that we were related on my
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Photo of Roberto Aleman. Credit: NASA
mother’s side of the family. In Hispanic countries, we use two last names, one from our father followed by one from our mother. My mother searched our family tree, recognized Dr. Acuña’s mother’s name, and discovered that he was our very distant relative.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done as part of your job at Goddard?
The coolest thing for me is being in charge of building our MMS observatory. We’re making all four of MMS’ spacecraft here and each spacecraft will be very big. In fact, MMS will be the largest, in-house integration and test effort ever done at Goddard. We are even constructing our own clean room to have enough space to do the integration and test of these four, large spacecraft.
What makes Goddard a great place to work?
The diversity of the people at Goddard definitely makes teamwork both very interesting and also successful.
Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests, activities outside of work that people do not generally know?
Since I was born in Argentina, soccer is very important to me. I enjoy watching soccer games and am an avid player, but I am also a United States Soccer Federation-certified referee. I referee games with players whose ages range from young kids to adults, but I have a lot more fun with the younger kids because I can also teach them while they play.
If you could meet and talk to anybody, living or dead, who would it be and what’s the first thing you’d ask them?
I would like to have met Dr. Martin Luther King. I would have asked him what kept him awake worrying at night.
Lastly, is there anything else you would like to say?
I think that we should all be proud of our public service and that we as government employees should each conduct public outreach in our community.
› More Conversations With Goddard
Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.