Faces of GPM: Engineers



Beth: My name is Beth Weinstein, and I am an I&T, integration and test engineer. Lisa: My name is Lisa Bartusek and I am the GPM Deputy Mission Systems Engineer. Carlton: My name is Carlton Peters, I'm an associate branch head here at the Goddard Space Flight Center in the thermal engineering branch. I also serve as the GPM thermal project development lead. We basically are a part of the larger GPM I&T team, which consists of electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical technicians, mechanical technicians, thermal technicians. Lisa: Satellites are very complex systems, so the part of it about breaking them down into all the little pieces tends to be fairly easy, and I find the hard part to be putting all the pieces back together. Carlton: It takes the entire team and everybody to be focused on one mission. A lot of times people feel like they can take the entire burden on themselves, but it's good to communicate amongst everyone and make sure everybody's on the same page, moving forward, and we, I think, are getting there on GPM. Lisa: We really want to make sure it works, we don't want to waste the taxpayer dollars, and so we develop tests that will put it through its paces. Carlton: We can't go get the spacecraft, bring it back, fix it, and send it back out there. It just isn't that simple. And you'd rather solve a small issue now rather than have it propagate and become a bigger issue for you later. Beth: I'm also a test director, so we split our work up into shifts and then during the shift, I'm the one in charge of all the work that's going on the spacecraft that day. And if someone needs something, if they're missing some kind of resource, whether that's personnel or physical resource, then it would be my job to make sure that they get what they need to do their job. Actually my background is in computer science, it was computer science focused, but definitely a focus on an understanding of Earth science and how we viewed the Earth from afar and what we could do with that data. Carlton: And I took a course in thermodynamics, and I mean I fell in love with it right away. I knew right away that was the way I was going to go in engineering. I was going to go towards thermal engineering. Lisa: I was always very interested in math, and I didn't think it was quite practical to become a mathematician, I'm more practically-minded. So I decided to go into engineering, and the thing that really attracts me about it is that I like to do puzzles and I like logic so I think being in engineering I'm able to indulge myself in those passions everyday. Carlton: It's being flexible is probably one of the hardest and best things to be during I&T because you just prepare for some of the things that happen. Beth: The reason why it's important and why we test and do all this is not only to launch it and make sure that our time was used well, that we don't have something that fails once it gets into up there, but that people are actually waiting for this data.