• Robert Gaston

    Robert Gaston

    Project Manager

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Mike Gross

    Mike Gross

    Deputy Project Manager, Flight System Manager

    Jet Propulsion Laboratoy
    "I actually didn't plan on being an engineer. I wanted to be a marine biologist. I got a job at the Department of Water and Power in the chemistry lab. I was looking at what the engineers were doin... more

    "I actually didn't plan on being an engineer. I wanted to be a marine biologist. I got a job at the Department of Water and Power in the chemistry lab. I was looking at what the engineers were doing and they seemed to be having an awful good time, as opposed to me, who was prepping samples. And finally I said, 'I'll give it a try.' I took this class called Introduction to Algorithm Design for writing software, and everything just kind of clicked. And then engineering was what I knew I wanted to do.

    (Former JPL Director Theodore) von Karman said, 'Scientists discover the world that exists. Engineers create the world that never was.' And I think that's the most rewarding thing for me -- creating those tools so scientists can see what they desire to see.

    The nice thing about Earth missions is one, it's about our home planet – figuring out what's going on, what we can do differently, where our weaknesses are. And two, the return is fairly quick. Go to Mars and it's 9 to 12 months before you even land. Cassini was 7 years (before it arrived).

    My hopes are that we are at least as successful as we were with the original GRACE mission, and that we meet the desires of the scientists and NASA as a whole. I mean, that's what we're here for."

    Selected credits:

    • GRACE, Cassini, Europa Orbiter, LISA, MER (Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars), Phoenix
    • NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 2003 for GRACE
    • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, 2009 for Phoenix

    Education:

    MS and BS, both in Electrical Engineering, California State University Northridge 

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  • Felix Landerer

    Felix Landerer

    Project Scientist

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    “I am responsible for the scientific integrity and overall scientific success of the mission. My job is to ensure that the mission operations and data processing meet the science goals and requirem... more

    “I am responsible for the scientific integrity and overall scientific success of the mission. My job is to ensure that the mission operations and data processing meet the science goals and requirements. My team and I ensure that the data products we generate are of the highest quality and accuracy, get delivered in a timely manner, and meet the needs of the large user community. Time-variable gravity measurements have an amazing range of applications: they tell us about sea level and ocean current variations, groundwater depletion, glacier mass changes, and even the solid Earth’s changes from large earthquakes. As an oceanographer myself, it never ceases to amaze me that we can map month-to-month pressure differences as small as 10 millimeters at the bottom of the oceans from space. With GRACE-FO, we are continuing to unravel processes in Earth’s water and energy cycle, and provide crucial data for water resources management."

    Education

    • Ph.D., Oceanography, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology / University of Hamburg / Intl. Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling (2004-2007)
    • Diploma (M.Sc.), Geophysics, University of Kiel (1998-2004)
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  • Mike Shirbacheh

    Mike Shirbacheh

    Project System Engineer:

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Chris Woodruff

    Chris Woodruff

    Laser Interferometer Manager

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Richard Kornfeld

    Richard Kornfeld

    Flight System Systems Engineer

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    "As a young kid, I was captivated by the Apollo moon landings. I started to draw plans of rockets and read anything I could find on spaceflight. I loved taking things apart and marveled at their de... more

    "As a young kid, I was captivated by the Apollo moon landings. I started to draw plans of rockets and read anything I could find on spaceflight. I loved taking things apart and marveled at their design. And that's when I knew I wanted to become an engineer.

    Working as the Flight System Systems Engineer allows me to interact with different people, companies and cultures, and provides me with the opportunity to learn more about a wide variety of science and engineering disciplines.

    One aspect of the GRACE Follow-On mission that fascinates me is its ability to elegantly measure and uncover what is not visible to the naked eye. Measuring gravity and its changes over time and space is an important contribution to understanding our planet Earth."

    Selected credits:

    • Spirit & Opportunity - Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Phoenix Mars Lander, Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover, GRACE Follow-On
    • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2009 for Phoenix Mars Lander

    Education:

    • PhD in Aeronautics & Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • MS in Electrical Engineering from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
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