Servicing Mission 4 > Career of the Day

My name: Ken
My career: Astronomer

How do I contribute to the Hubble
Space Telescope mission?
I'm the project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. My job is to be a science champion for Hubble. That means I have to understand what Hubble does. We're doing Hubble's final servicing mission. I work with NASA engineers to make sure we're learning all we can about our universe.
What or who inspired me to really go after the
profession I am in now?
I took weekend classes at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago while I was in high school. I met some scientists, some of whom taught at the University of Chicago, who inspired me to attend that university.
What I like about my job:
I really love the idea of exploration and understanding how the universe works. I like being part of a team that is working on something big.
What school subjects do I use at work?
Obviously, I use skills learned from my math and physics classes, but I also have to write.
Resources I would recommend checking out to
learn more about my career:
An excellent web site is http://hubblesite.org/, which has resources and links, activities for kids, books, pictures, computer things, all kinds of stuff.
What I like to do when I'm not working:
I enjoy woodworking. That's something I do in my free time.
My name:
Lisa
My career:
HST operations
integration & test manager

How do I contribute to the Hubble
Space Telescope mission?
As the Operations Integration & Test Manager, I have two major duties. First, I ensure that the new or repaired instruments and orbital replacement units are fully tested through the HST ground system. That is, I make sure our commands are getting through to the instruments and that we in turn are able to receive telemetry from the instruments. Second, I validate the HST-to-shuttle communication interfaces. These communication tests require the use of specialized shuttle laboratories at Johnson Space Center and the Orbiter at Kennedy Space Center.
What or who inspired me to really go after the
profession I am in now?
Interestingly enough, when I was in college I had a male professor who told me that I should stay away from engineering and math because I was a woman. He 'inspired' me to do the exact opposite (and thus ensuring that I succeeded at the challenge he posed inadvertently to me).
What I like about my job:
I seem to thrive on challenges, and my job has no shortage of that. The work is diverse, with a good mix of management and hands-on technical work. There's nothing like working with hardware that's going into space for the purpose of scientific discovery. But more than that, it's the group of premier engineers that I work with daily who really make my job enjoyable and totally satisfying.
What school subjects do I use at work?
I've used a good bit of my college math, physics, and engineering classes to some degree. Succeeding in my field at NASA requires good fundamentals in all of these subjects. Sociology and psychology have also been beneficial, since it's crucial to be able to interact with a very diverse group of people and understand what motivates them to do their best.
Resources I would recommend checking out to
learn more about my career:
The NASA web site, http://www.nasa.gov
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, http://www.nasm.si.edu/
What I like to do when I'm not working:
When I'm not working for NASA, I'm usually working part-time as an officer with Baltimore County's Aviation and Marine Units. This almost became my career. I love biking, hiking, gardening, interacting with my nieces and nephew, working out at the gym, and having Sunday dinner with my parents and siblings. Having balance between my career and other activities is essential for a good quality of life.
Go to the
Be What I Want to Be Web site