SEATTLE, Feb. 9, 2021—NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover lands on the Red Planet Feb. 18, and the Museum is hosting two live, online panel programs to prep and cover the landing with NASA JPL Mars mission engineers. The preview discussion on Feb. 11 includes Mallory Lefland, JPL Flight Controller, who will be on duty with NASA Mission Control for the rover landing; and on landing day, Feb. 18, the program includes Bill Cahill, the program manager for the MR-80 rocket engines that will power the descent stage bringing Perseverance to the surface of Mars. Both programs are free and online.
Feb. 11 – Mars Perseverance Rover—Everything You Need to Know!
6 to 7 p.m. PST
Moderators: Geoff Nunn, NASA Solar System Ambassador and The Museum of Flight's Adjunct Curator for Space History; Natalie Copeland, Museum of Flight Educator.
Mallory Lefland, Senior Systems Engineer, First Mode
Mallory Lefland is a senior systems engineer at First Mode, a design, engineering, and technology development firm based in Seattle, and is currently supporting the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) team on the Mars 2020 mission. She works on testing the Mars rover Perseverance, running simulations to analyze and validate the landing, which is a period of just 45 minutes on the spacecraft’s many-year mission, and estimates she has tested the landing system for at least 2,200 hours. Lefland will be on duty with NASA Mission Control for the Perseverance landing.
Lefland is an experienced NASA systems engineer with extensive knowledge of systems analysis and solutions management. At First Mode she is leveraging her background in aerospace engineering, project management, risk assessment, innovative problem solving, and complex data analysis skills.
Terry W. Himes, JPL Spacecraft and Software Engineer
Terry Himes began working on Deep Space projects in 1990 when NASA JPL’s Mars Observer spacecraft was being built at the GE Space Center in Princeton. He started working directly for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2001 and has been involved in over 30 deep space missions.
At JPL Himes was the Sequence Team Lead for the Mars lander, InSight in 2018 and part of the Dawn Spacecraft Team at the dwarf planet Ceres. He is currently heading Sequence for Odyssey Relay in preparation for the Mars 2020 Perseverance Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL). Himes is also the Sequence Lead on Mars Express (MEX) and Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO). At age 14, Himes set his goal for working at NASA on deep space missions, particularly, Mars.
Dr. Dieter M. Zube, Engineering Fellow, Aerojet Rocketdyne
Dr. Dieter M. Zube is the Engineering Fellow for Electric Spacecraft Propulsion Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne's Redmond, Wash., facility. He joined Aerojet Rocketdyne in 1997 to work on ion thrusters and related technologies. Zube was previously an Aerojet engineering manager from 2005 to 2012, and managed the engineering team that worked on the hydrazine thrusters used in the Mars lander sky crane rocket engines first used in 2012 on NASA's Curiosity Mars Science Lander. He teaches spacecraft propulsion classes at the University of Washington and volunteers as a Docent at the Seattle Museum of Flight.
Feb. 18 – Mars Perserverance Rover Live Landing
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. PST
Moderator: Geoff Nunn, NASA Solar System Ambassador and The Museum of Flight's Adjunct Curator for Space History.
Bill Cahill, Program Manager, Aerojet Rocketdyne
Bill Cahill is a program manager and engineer, currently the program lead for monopropellant rocket engines at Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond, Wash. He has led teams building and testing hydrazine thrusters for several science missions including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, TESS, and OSIRIS-REx, and is the program manager for the MR-80 rocket engines that will power the descent stage bringing Perseverance to the surface of Mars on Feb. 18.
Maggie Scholtz, Vice President of Engineering, First Mode
Maggie Scholtz leads engineering for First Mode, a design, engineering, and technology development firm based in Seattle. She and her team tackle complicated engineering challenges including drilling into the compositionally unknown crust of Mars, building hardware for use on the NASA Psyche spacecraft’s journey to the asteroid belt, and negotiating resources across complex systems. Maggie’s background is in mechanical systems for complex interplanetary spacecraft. She has run technical teams at NASA JPL and Planetary Resources working on drilling and sampling mechanisms, scientific instrument suites, and 3D printed propulsion modules.
The Earth-based engineering model of the Mars Curiosity rover, which is used for testing and patrolling the Mars Yard at JPL, is named Maggie in honor of Scholtz’s exemplary work. In 2020 she was honored by the Society of Women Engineers for making a ‘substantive contribution to her workplace, community, and beyond,’ notably for her contributions to NASA’s Mars Exploration program.
Image: An illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover landing safely on Mars. NASA.
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