Systems Engineering Seminar

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Presented by:
Dave Everett GSFC Code 599
Mission Systems Engineer for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

March 2, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Building 3 Auditorium


Engineering a Successful Mission: Lessons from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

June 18, 2009, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) rocketed toward the moon on an Atlas V, along with its sister payload, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).  Like any space mission, the road to launch was full of challenges, many of which were not technical.  As the first mission of the Exploration Initiative, LRO was subjected to multiple changes in program office and several changes in headquarters management as NASA’s new Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) established its priorities and structure.  But throughout the turmoil, ESMD maintained a strong push for LRO to launch in 2008—less than 4 years after the start of significant funding.  That push helped the team focus, but it also created the possibility of enormous technical risk.  In the end, national launch priorities delayed LRO and reinforced the emphasis on mission success, an outcome ensured by the team’s diligence along the way.  This presentation will provide an overview of the mission from concept through commissioning and explore some of the challenges the systems engineering team faced taking a mission from preliminary design review to pre-ship review in 3 years.



Photo of Dave Everett David Everett is a mission systems engineer at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. He has led the design, build, and launch of three spacecraft (FAST, WIRE, and LRO), and he was a key player during the launch of three others (SAMPEX, SWAS, and TRACE). His eighteen years at NASA has included substantial experience in the assembly and testing of spacecraft, including vibration, acoustics, magnetics, electromagnetic compatibility, and seven spacecraft-level thermal vacuum tests. Between 1999 and 2005, Mr. Everett focused on early mission planning, including the design of over thirty space missions at Goddard's Integrated Mission Design Center and the formulation of Global Precipitation Measurement and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Robotic Servicing and De-orbit Mission (HRSDM). Starting in September 2005, Mr. Everett led the technical effort for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) as the Mission Systems Engineer. LRO, launched June 18, 2009, is the first mission of NASA’s Exploration Initiative, providing high resolution imagery and topography of the moon and characterizing the radiation environment in anticipation of future human exploration of the polar regions. Mr. Everett is now the chief systems engineer for the Heliophysics and Explorers Program Office at Goddard.

In addition to the spacecraft work, Mr. Everett has supported various systems engineering educational programs including: participating in two DACUM sessions for systems engineering, mentoring for the GSFC Systems Engineering Education Development (SEED) program, teaching the systems overview class for a spacecraft design course at the University of Maryland, serving on the UMBC Systems Engineering Advisory Panel (developed a systems engineering program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County), and serving on the University of Maryland College Park Systems Engineering Advisory Panel. Mr. Everett has actively supported NASA outreach activities through over 50 speaking engagements, coaching of robotics teams, and judging of science fairs.

David Everett has received 28 individual awards and 19 group awards for his efforts at NASA, and he has published 15 papers. He earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering summa cum laude, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1986 and a master's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Maryland in 1989. Before he joined NASA in 1991, Mr. Everett worked at Westinghouse Electric Corporation where he was awarded two patents for his designs of RF circuits.



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