Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM alumni participate in NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission


Three U of MN AEM graduates participated directly in the recently landed Mars Phoenix mission.  Jim Chase (BAEM 1999), Scott Doudrick (MS 1997) and Maria Schellpfeffer  (BS 2003) all participated in the Mars exploration mission which has been developing since August of 2003. 

The mission is the first in NASA’s “scout program.”  This lander (pictured above) was designed to study the surface of Mars and to further explore its history.  Chase comments, “We are proud of our U affiliation and … the mission's success reflects well upon the U.”

Doudrick has been the Phoenix Payload System Engineer since 2004 where he ensured inter-payload and Spacecraft compatibility.  He was key in developing the Payload Test area and delivered inter-payload cabling and Payload Electronics Boxes.  He began Phoenix after working on the rovers Spirit and Opportunity for more than four years as Cruise Phase Technical Lead and Tactical Downlink Lead.

Chase participated as a systems engineer on Phoenix.  He contributed to entry, descent, and landing (EDL) and surface operations.  As part of EDL, he also helped lead the simulation team for modeling and fine-tuning the spacecraft performance.  On operations, he is the tactical downlink lead, where he is monitoring the health and performance of the instruments.

Schellpfeffer works as a Sequence System Engineer on the Mission Planning and Sequencing Team.  She worked on the development of the background sequence generation software pre-launch and led the Sequencing operations during the cruise and approach phases.  During the surface phase she alternates between Strategic and Tactical Sequence Engineer, continuing to build background sequences as well as integrating and modeling the science sequence products that are uplinked to the spacecraft each day.

Click here for more information about the mission.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 22-Aug-2012 13:48:58 CDT -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation