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Photo of Bryan Allen
   Bryan Allen
   Mission Data Operations Team, Software Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California
United States Of America
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High School: Tulare Union High School, Tulare,  CA
AA, Science, College of the Sequoias; Cal State Bakersfield

Background Information
I’m a 4th-generation Californian who grew up in the Central Valley of California. After college, I worked as a horticulturist on a large corporate farm. My hobbies, particularly hang gliding and bicycle racing, along with being in the right place at the right time, led me to have an opportunity to join a team of Southern Californians who were competing for the Kremer Prize for human-powered flying machines. In 1977 I became the lead pilot of their plane, the Gossamer Condor, after the previous pilot got what he thought was a better offer to race bicycles in Europe. I was the pilot of the plane when it achieved the prize-winning flight in August of 1977. A new human-powered flight prize was announced, with the task being to fly from England to France. Our group, again with myself as the pilot, won that prize in June of 1979 flying the Gossamer Albatross. A book, “Gossamer Odyssey: The Triumph of Human-Powered Flight”, was written about those projects. I toured around the US and Europe for a year with the plane, giving many talks and interviews.

I then worked for four years as a principle at the then-second-largest manufacturer of ultralight airplanes, which was located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, doing a variety of things which included test flying, dealer training, newsletter and manual writing, airshow appearances, and prototype development. During that time I obtained my pilot’s license for both airplanes and gliders. In 1984 I rejoined one of the engineers who had worked on the Gossamer Albatross and we formed a small company in California which made props for stage and movies. Our primary customer was the comedian Gallagher, for whom we built a variety of wacky things. One of the least wacky was the pedal-powered airship White Dwarf, with which I set world records during an all-day flight from Thermal to Brawley, California, along the eastern shore of the Salton Sea.

In 1987 I started working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Over the subsequent years I have worked here as a document editor, a software configuration management specialist, a ground data system developer and support person, and a UNIX system administrator. I began my career at JPL as a contractor employee but am now employed directly by JPL. I now work on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in two capacities, as an ACE who sends commands to the spacecraft and also as a member of the end-to-end Data Accountability Team tracking numerous data generation and delivery issues.

I’m married and have a teenage daughter. We also have a dog and a cat.

Contributions to Mars Exploration

I’ve been a "Martian" since 1995 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. [more contributions ...]
Personal Reflections

Be curious. Ask questions. Read a lot. Be passionate! [more personal reflections ...]