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NASA - Deputy Project Manager
December 15, 2004

Image of Monte HendersonMonte Henderson
Mission Team
Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.

Why do you like working at Ball Aerospace?
I enjoy the diversity of the work that we do here. But more than that, I really enjoy the people that I work with. Even cool projects like Deep Impact would get dull if I didn't have fun people to work with.

How did you end up in the aerospace industry?
While I was in school, I did three summer internships at the Los Alamos National Laboratories. As a result, when I graduated, I had an active security clearance; and at that time all the major aerospace companies were in desperate need of cleared employees. So, for no better reason than that I had an active clearance, I started in aerospace. Since that time, I did test the waters in the commercial world, but I came back to aerospace - more specifically Ball - because I missed the quality of work and the caliber of the people.

What do you do in your spare time?
I'm a dad now, with two small children, so my spare time is usually spent doing "dad things", like going to the park or teaching my kids to ride bikes and throw balls. But when I do manage a little time to myself, I tend to head to the mountains with my bike or my skis on the car.

What is one yet-to-be achieved life goal?
I'm looking forward to the day that I can ski the bumps at Mary Jane with my kids.

What do you hope to learn from the Deep Impact mission?
Like everyone else, I am interested in proving the physical composition of the Tempel 1 comet. As with my previous work on the Hubble and SIRTF telescopes, I really enjoy working on programs that have the potential for significant scientific discoveries. I have some personal career goals for this program as well.

Who inspired you?
Lots of people over the years have inspired me: my parents, teachers and coaches while I was growing up - my wife and kids now. Co-workers and managers here at Ball have also influenced my direction in life, both in and out of work. I would hate to single out one or two, because there have been so many that have been a significant influence.

Were you a science-oriented kid?
Yes. I grew up in a town (Los Alamos, NM) that valued science and academics over athletics (lucky for me). Nearly everyone was science-orientated; it was just what everyone did. When you live in a town full of scientists and engineers, you don't really grow up thinking it is science. It is just normal life.

What was your favorite book as a kid?
I loved the Willie Wonka series - chocolate and technology - what a great combination.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
An oceanographer. Seems funny for a kid growing up in the middle of the desert, but I was really interested in marine life.

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