Roman's Wide Field Instrument (WFI) begins vacuum testing

Rebecca Schindhelm

Systems Engineer


  • Ph.D. (2011) • Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • M.Ss. (2005) • Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • B.Sc. (2003) • Physics • University of Maryland, College Park
  • B.Sc. (2003) • Astronomy • University of Maryland, College Park

Current Position

  • Systems Engineer / Planetary Science Technology Initiative Lead at Ball Aerospace, Boulder CO
  • Advancing remote sensing technologies toward flight readiness in the area of Planetary Science. Supporting new pursuits for Planetary Science missions. Lead camera engineer for the Lunar-VISE PRISM lander/rover payload.

Top – images of microchannel plate (MCP) and MCP detector configuration. Bottom – gain vs. charge extracted for several atomic layer deposition borosilicate microchannel plates. As more charge is extracted the gain levels out.
Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) Microchannel Plates (MCPs) stand to improve Far-Ultraviolet detector performance by optimizing quantum efficiency and long-life gain, and are under consideration for next-generation astrophysical observatories.

Technology Interests

  • Wide- and Narrow- Angle visible cameras
  • Cryogenic infrared spectrometers
  • Advanced imaging spectroscopy with MEMS micromirror arrays
  • Metamaterial spectral filters for visible/infrared spectroscopy
  • Metamaterial polarizing gratings for compact spectropolarimetry
  • Advanced imaging/spectroscopy capabilities with nanofabricated optics
  • Intelligent reconnaissance using machine learning

Goals and Aspirations

  • Using emerging technologies to enable new scientific measurements
  • Developing flight instruments for Planetary and Earth Science missions
  • Building teams and mission concepts for new missions
  • Finding connections between different mission areas for applying new technologies to meet mission objectives
  • Applying new technologies to solving challenges in environmental intelligence and sustainability
  • Promoting inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in STEM