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Online From Jupiter 97

Gregory Klotz

a photo of Gregory Klotz

Engineering Analyst

My Field Journals

I am Gregory Klotz, an Engineering Analyst for the Galileo Mission Operations, Orbiter Engineering Team (OET). I work on the Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem (AACS) which is the Galileo spacecraft's components that work together to control spacecraft pointing, stability and configuration, perform trajectory corrections and control pointing of the spacecraft's remote sensing platform (which holds the spacecraft "cameras"). I have worn many hats since joining the OET (including: monitoring and analyzing real-time spacecraft activity, maintaining, upgrading and testing the AACS software and performing analysis and verification of changes to flight software critical parameters). However, my current task involves system-level testing and analysis of flight software and command sequences (these are the commands that will be sent up to the spacecraft).

Performing software analysis and test requires many hours working at a computer terminal and processing data extracted from the test hardware and flight software telemetry. Telemetry is the data that the spacecraft computers send down to engineers on Earth, telling them about the configuration and health of the spacecraft. By testing command sequences in a test facility prior to sending these commands to the spacecraft, I and a small group of others can make sure that the command sequence is correct. If not, the test results are used to identify any problems--and fix them--before the sequence is loaded and executed on-board the spacecraft.

One of the best things about this job is that it allows me to integrate many of my skills. I have opportunities to analyze data using existing software packages, to program my own tools to aid in data analysis and to learn to use new software tools. But most of all, I have the opportunity to work on a complex spacecraft that has, and will, continue to make some of the most exciting space discoveries of this century. This is one of the primary reasons I wanted to work for JPL.

When I was very young, I began showing an interest in solving problems. I was only 18 months when I assembled a 24 piece jigsaw puzzle. I loved space, especially the Moon, and knew most every crater on its surface at age 10. I watched most of the Gemini and Apollo launches and activities on TV and built all of the plastic space models that were available. I enjoyed the TV show, "Star Trek", the movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey", and became a fan of Luke Skywalker and Yoda. While in high school, I decided that my interests in puzzles and space, as well as an inherent mechanical ability, would lead me through an engineering program - my goal, a job with NASA.

In high school and college, I took all the required math and science courses and excelled where my analysis skills were called for. I graduated from high school with a 3.98 GPA and maintained a 3.76 throughout my extensive college years. I first graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering - then later, a Masters in Engineering from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Later I returned to school in New York and completed a Masters in Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis in Control Systems. Almost my entire high school and college years, I worked no less than 30 hours per week and still had time to travel to Costa Rica, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Canada and Brazil.

I am an avid snow skier and hiker who loves the outdoors and camping. I love languages and can speak Portuguese and Spanish fluently. As a young adult, I involved myself for years with the Boy Scouts and am an advocate of a well-rounded education. Now that I am a father of two boys (Lucas - 6 & Marcus - 2) and a girl (Stephanie - 3), I look forward to sharing my experiences and interests with them - and hopefully, get them to be as excited about science and nature as I.



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