Meet Mike Gaunce: Earth Science Mission Project Manager
Michael T. Gaunce is the Project Manager for NASA’s latest hurricane research mission, the NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (NAMMA) mission, which will be based in the Cape Verde Islands in August 2005. Mike works in the Earth Science Project Office (ESPO) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, and was also the Project Manager for last year’s successful Tropical Cloud Systems & Processes (TCSP) mission, based in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Mike holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in Indiana. He has been a U.S. Government civil servant for 22 years, the last 16 of which have been with NASA.
Mike is part of a unique team within NASA which orchestrates and manages the deployment of Earth Science missions around the world. This team has led numerous missions over the past 20 years in the United States and in a dozen other countries around the world. These missions have been instrumental toward understanding stratospheric ozone depletion, pollution transport between continents, global climate change, and tropical cyclone development. The ESPO team has particularly strong expertise in managing the unique and demanding requirements of hurricane research missions.
For the NAMMA mission this summer, NASA is deploying the DC-8 aircraft and other ground instruments to Sal and Sao Tiago islands in the eastern Atlantic to measure and track the effect of African Easterly Waves and Saharan dust on the formation of Atlantic hurricanes. Mike and the ESPO team helped to develop the mission and payload requirements, determine appropriate deployment sites, and negotiated international agreements with our Cape Verdean hosts. ESPO will manage the overall mission set-up and day-to-day operations, provide logistic support, including communications, laboratories, accommodations, shipping and transportation, and support public affairs and outreach. Due to the strong international participation of this mission, Mike is actively promoting the use of Portuguese and French-language web content to describe and publicize the important research from the NAMMA mission.
Mike has received numerous awards and commendations over his career, including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, a “Silver Snoopy” award, and Group Achievement Awards for the Shuttle-Mir Program and the SOLVE-II, INTEX-NA, and TCSP Earth Science missions. He has extensive project management experience, particularly on international projects, having worked with French, Russian, British, German, and Latin American engineers and scientists.
In his spare time, Mike likes to read, hike, and camp. He has traveled extensively to Europe and Latin America. He has a passionate interest in musicology and is a devoted music fan. He has tutored students of all ages in math and reading, and presented NASA’s work in human spaceflight and science to area schoolchildren. Mike, his wife, Citlalli, and his daughter, Danitza live in Santa Clara, CA.
Earth Science Project Office
Goddard Space Flight Center