By the early 1990s I had a lot of experience with spacecraft electronics and software. This experience helped me become the Mars Pathfinder chief engineer. Mars Pathfinder and its little Sojpurner rover was done by a a small team who “broke the mold” and returned to the surface of Mars after 20 year gap. Pathfinder was one of the most wonderful experiences any engineer could have. Afterward a stint as Mars Program Chief Engineer, in early 2000, I co-conspired the idea to modify Pathfinder to become the MER Spirit and Opportunity rovers. For the next few years I led the system engineering team for MER, and also led the MERs Entry, Descent and Landing team. After MER I became the Mars Program Chief Engineer while also working for the Mars Phoenix project. Today I am the Chief Engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) project (as well as being a “JPL Fellow”).
As a result of my good luck at JPL, I received two NASA medals and I am in the Aviation Week Magazine Space Laureate Hall of Fame in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
I am a graduate of Caltech and Whitman College where I studied math, physics, computer science, and control systems. I also studied computer engineering and control systems at USC. I live in La Canada (near JPL) with my wife Dominique and my teenage daughter, Caline.