Peter Xaypraseuth

Mission Planner - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


John Marshall, Los Angeles, CA

Cal Poly Pomona

Bachelor of Science - Aerospace Engineering

My Contributions

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

I am part of the Mission and Navigation Design team for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Project. My job is to coordinate and plan the science and engineering activities.

Personal Reflections

Do you have any hobbies?

Some of my favorite things to do are fishing, mountain biking, snow boarding, and playing softball. In addition to these activities I enjoy going to the movies, eating out, and playing video games.

What is the most fascinating thing about your mission?

The most fascinating thing about the MRO mission is the data that will be returned. MRO has several instruments that are capable of taking very high-resolution images of Mars. In some of these images, objects the size of beach balls would be visible. Also, MRO is expected to return more data than the previous Mars missions combined!

What is unique about your job?

One of the unique aspects of my job is that I get to interact with personnel on both the spacecraft team and the science team. On one side, I learn the capabilities of the orbiter, and on the other I learn about the unique science that is being performed.

When did you decide you wanted to be in the space industry and how did you go for it?

As a 9th grader, I had my first aerospace class. In this class we built airplanes out of balsa wood, and had competitions to see whose could fly the farthest. We also built and launched our own rockets. When the time came to pick a major in college, Aerospace Engineering seemed like the perfect choice. While going to college I was an Academic Part-Time at JPL. After graduation, I was hired into the Navigation and Mission Design Section.

Do you work on any other projects at your company?

The other project that I work on is a joint mission between the French Space Agency, CNES and NASA. The project is to be launched in 2007, and will demonstrate orbital rendezvous. This technology is expected to lead toward a design for the Mars Sample Return Mission.

Where are they from?

Planetary science is a global profession.