Sam L. Zadeh

Sam L. Zadeh

Project Configuration Manager - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

What first sparked your interest in space and science?

Since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to work for NASA. I've always been fascinated with space exploration and life beyond our solar system. I have always wanted to discover and solve the mysteries of the universe.

How did you end up working in the space program?

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Specializing in Aerospace Engineering. I then worked for top aircraft manufacturers in the world supporting Airbus 220 (formerly Bombardier CSeries) program as well as Bombardier Global 7000/8000 and General Dynamics Gulfstream G500/600 business jet advanced aircraft programs prior to joining NASA.

After becoming an Subject Matter Expert (SME) in my field, I applied at NASA JPL and landed my dream job.

Tell us about your job. What do you do?

As a NASA JPL Project Configuration Manager, I oversee project teams to ensure spacecraft/design requirements are accurately implemented and remain consistent across the board. I ensure any changes in the product baseline are identified, assessed, and approved.

Artist Rendering of NISAR.

As the Certification of Flight Readiness (CoFR) lead on NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, I manage project teams to ensure Certification of Flight Readiness artifacts are captured and presented to NASA JPL institutional directors to certify that the project has completed the tasks and reviews required prior to mission launch.

What's one piece of advice you would give to others interested in a similar career?

I recommend that you follow your dreams and pursue the area you’re most passionate about. The great thing about working for NASA JPL is that there are job opportunities for every interest. Whether it's project management, finance, engineering, science, social media, law, etc. All of them are necessary and valuable for mission success.

Where are they from?

Planetary science is a global profession.