NASA People

Center Snapshot: Bob Borchardt
Bob Borchardt. Image above: Bob Borchardt rides his 1997 Honda Valkyrie to NASA Langley, when the weather allows. NASA/Sean Smith

Denise Lineberry

Bob Borchardt graduated from college in the early 1980s when engineers were being persuaded to go into gaming. He ignored the perk of an expected greater income to follow his dream of working with NASA as an engineer.

He is currently employed by SSAI and is working with the CALIPSO mission operations team within NASA Langley’s Science Directorate. He is part of a team that performs the initial processing of science data, maintains the instrument flight software, operating configuration, and monitors its health and status.

As a child, Bob remembers the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions and John Glenn. “I was glued to the television,” he said. Those moments in history set the hook for Bobs’ passion for NASA. He was the self-proclaimed “nerd in the corner with a soldering iron.” He would buy and assemble electronics kits for fun.

He also stayed on the move. Bob’s father worked for Texaco and went wherever his opportunities took him. And as a result, Bob was born in San Antonio, and then lived in Japan, Iowa, Minneapolis, Chicago, Houston and Richmond.

Bob’s NASA career began at Johnson Space Center (JSC). “Oddly enough, I haven’t been back to JSC in 20 years,” he said. It’s odd because his career with NASA has taken him many places… but never back to JSC.

When Bob was working on the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) project, he went on many business trips to Moscow. He has also taken business trips to Torino, Italy and Toulouse, France. He frequently visits his family in Houston and San Antonio.

Prior to working in the science directorate, he worked in the hangar with the 737 and 757 aircraft research data acquisition systems.

“I am lucky with my family and I am lucky with my career,” Bob said. His wife, Heide, works in the Independent Program Assessment Office (IPAO).

He enjoys building things, including helping their two sons work on their homes. Bob also enjoys riding his motorcycle and taking classes through the Langley Karate Club (LKC) with Heide.

Bob loves the variety of his job. He chose to follow his dreams with NASA with no regrets.