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Photo of Terry Himes
   Terry Himes
   Ground Data Systems I&T Lead Engineer
Ground Data Systems, Mission Systems Engineering
San Diego, California
United States Of America
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High School: Grand Ledge High School, Grand Ledge,  MI
Bachelor of Science in Computer Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Master of Science in Computer Sciences, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Post Graduate Studies, Computer Sciences, University of Southern California San Diego, San Diego, Calfornia

Background Information
I grew up in a small town near Lansing, Michigan. In 9th grade, inspired by NASA's Gemini and Apollo programs, two friends and I launched our first rockets with live mice. Our goal was to run experiments on the mice to see how rapid acceleration affected their behavior and gain extra credit in Physics and Biology. It worked, and the local news caught on and ran a story on our space shots and launch facility. Of course, we never broke 1500 feet. But it was fun and exciting. And from then on, I was hooked on space.

After a Tour of Duty in Vietnam/Cambodia (1969/1970) I finish my college at Michigan State University, after switching my major from Aeronautical Engineering to Computer Science. I realized at the time, that software engineering was the place to be, at least it was for me.

After college I struck out to find a job with NASA but ended up in New Jersey working for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) on a NAVY Advanced Missile Systems project called AEGIS. For three years I developed software for the Weapons Control portion of the AEGIS project, which is now deployed on just about every Strike Cruiser, Destroyer, and Aircraft Carrier the Navy has. I made lots of friends and colleagues, which came in handy later.

After three years with CSC, I was presented with an opportunity to start my own software company. I put together a business plan, approached Princeton National Bank (now United Jersey Banks) and obtained a business loan. For the next 12 years I owned a successful software company called Princeton Networks Corporation. I developed a software system for formula based manufacturing and complete cost-based accouting system with full financial reporting. On a cold day in January, 1990, I got a call from my old colleages from CSC. They were just starting up a new project for NASA/JPL to go to Mars. It was to be the beginning of many years of Mars exploration. It didn't take me long to sell my part of the business to my partner and within a month, I was working at the GE Space Center in Princeton, New Jersey on the Mars Observer. Mars quickly captured my imagination and become my passion and obsession. Not bad, as obsessions go.

From then on, I have worked on many spacecraft and satellite projects as a contractor doing Ground Data Systems (GDS) software engineering. In 2001, I received a call from another colleague that JPL was looking for people to come work on new Mars missions. They had me with the first ring of the telephone. And, beating my old record, I was starting work at JPL within three weeks.

Contributions to Mars Exploration

At JPL I am extremely lucky to have landed in the epicenter of flight operations. The place I work is called MMO GDS. Which stands for Mission Management Office, Ground Data Systems. We are the people to put together and maintain the infrastructure that makes the entire mission possible, from an operational standpoint. [more contributions ...]
Personal Reflections

Keep studying and learning! You don't have to be the top person in your class to work at JPL. You just have to be ambitious and have a passion for space exploration. You have to "want" to be successful, respected by your colleagues and be willing to work for it. [more personal reflections ...]