Jason Crusan
NASA Mini-RF Program Executive (as of January 2009) and Mini-RF Program Control Manager

Where did you grow up? Where do you live now? I grew up in several different states. I was born in upstate New York and lived in the general area of Corning. My family moved several times and I ended up graduating high school from Hurricane, West Virginia. My family and I currently live in Ashburn, VA outside of Washington , DC.

How did you get interested in space exploration? The first memories I have of space exploration were from elementary school and watching and learning about the Space Shuttle Program including Challenger. Growing up I always had an interest in science fiction which turned into a curiosity of how technology worked -- from taking things apart as a kid (and sometime being successful in putting them back together) to starting to writing software at a young age. I spent a lot of time growing up camping and spent many nights staring at the night sky which brought me to thinking about technology for space.

What is your educational background? I started school with a plan to go into engineering but started as a science major on a music scholarship. Many credit hours later after switching majors several times I completed two bachelor’s degrees; one in Physics and the other in Electrical Engineering from Cleveland State University with stops at West Virginia State University and Wheeling Jesuit University on the way to finishing. I went on to complete a Masters in Computer Information Systems (MCIS) also from Cleveland State University.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy traveling, reading, taking our daughter to see everything the area has to offer, and cooking.

What’s your job on Mini-RF? For the greater part of the Program I have served as the Program Control Manager which is part of a small management team helping to lead the projects we have. I have served as the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (CoTR) for the program which includes helping to lead the top level requirements and strategy of the projects we have. Recently I also have taken over as Program Executive as well as we enter the operations phase of our first instrument.

What has been the most exciting aspect of working on Mini-RF? The most exciting aspect has been working with such a talented team of managers, engineers and scientists to help be part of bringing together the technology to meet very challenging missions requirements.

What are you looking forward to the most as Mini-RF begins its lunar exploration? The highlight to me is the feeling you get when you see the data coming back from the instruments.

What excites you about exploring the Moon? I wasn’t old enough to work on or witness the Apollo Program first hand. Working (even in my small part) on the technology to return us to the moon again, put in place the infrastructure and gather the data for the future makes me excited to come into the office every day.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved in space exploration? The first piece of advice I always give is that’s ok if you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up. I tell people to study what makes you excited to learn and the career will quickly follow. Work hard at what ever you choose because space exploration requires many skill sets.