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Photo of Tracy Drain
   Tracy Drain
   Systems Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California
United States Of America
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High School: Mayme S. Waggener, Louisville,  KY
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, University of Kentucky
Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Background Information
I was born and raised in Louisville, KY. After graduating from Waggener High School, I went to the University of Kentucky to study Mechanical Engineering. During my time at UK, I participated in the co-op program and worked for two semesters and two summers at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. After graduating in 1998, I went on to Atlanta, GA to continue my education at the Georgia Institute of Technology. There, I conducted research in the area of Condition Based Monitoring of rolling element bearings and received my M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in May, 2000.

I came to work for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in June of 2000. Some of my initial tasks here at the lab included providing systems engineering support for microspacecraft technology development, Earth Science mission proposals, and advanced studies of future missions to Mars. I joined the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter team in May of 2001. During MRO’s development period prior to launch, I was involved with developing the project’s system level requirements, determining potential mission level faults and the mitigations strategies used to prevent or respond to them and running simulations of fault scenarios. After launch in 2005, I continued to work with the Flight Engineering Team to build command sequences for the orbiter, and with the Real Time Operations team to send commands to the spacecraft. I led the planning for activities between the end of Aerobraking and the start of the Science Phase, and eventually took over the position of Lead Systems Engineer on the Flight Engineering Team.

I left MRO in the fall of 2007 to work on the Kepler. After launching in 2009, Kepler will begin its search for extra-solar terrestrial planets. I am on the Project Systems Engineering team, as a Mission Readiness Lead – my main focus is to ensure we work out all of the details associated with executing each of the mission phases (the Launch Phase, the on-orbit checkout period that we call the Commissioning Phase, and the main data-gathering portion of the mission which is the Science Phase), and that we identify and resolve any issues associated with planning for, testing and eventually executing the activities associated with these phases.