Servicing Mission 4 > Career of the Day

My name: Karin
My career: Systems engineer

How do I contribute to the Hubble
Space Telescope mission?
Believe it or not, part of my job is to scuba dive with astronauts! I work with the Hubble Space Telescope re-servicing mission. The latest Hubble astronauts I am working with will ride into space aboard the space shuttle in spring 2009.

I am part of the EVA (Extravehicular Activity) team. That means I get to help write the procedures and train the astronauts for their spacewalks to repair and improve Hubble.

Although I spend a lot of time in Houston scuba diving in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory and working simulations from the Mission Control Center, my home base is the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland. That is where the new instruments and replacement units are assembled and tested before they are shipped to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch.

During the flight, several parts of the telescope will be changed out and repaired — including a new cosmic spectrograph, a wide-field camera, fine guidance sensors, replacement batteries, gyroscopes, and thermal layers to protect the telescope. It is very exciting to be working one-on-one with the experts who designed this world-class telescope and to see the great pictures of our universe through its optics (http://hubble.nasa.gov/).
What I like about my job:
I like feeling like I'm making a difference in the world. In this case, it is even OUT of this world! Let's face it, my position is unique. Not many people can say they get to train astronauts, who are some of the most intelligent, dedicated, and courageous people on the planet. The best part of my job is watching a shuttle launch and knowing that I am part of the team that makes the servicing mission happen .
What school subjects do I use at work?
I use all of my science background, plus math, reading, writing, and even history, which helps me to understand where we've been and where we'd like to go. I also use my social skills, an underestimated talent, which I learned at home and in school.
Resources I would recommend checking out to
learn more about my career:
There are too many resources to list. I have found that one can learn something from nearly every resource, whether it be a book, Web link, or person. The main advice I can offer is keep curiosity alive, and soak in knowledge like a sponge!
What I like to do when I'm not working:
I love gardening, volunteer work, dancing, singing in the church choir, and trying to keep up my foreign languages!
Go to the
Be What I Want to Be Web site