Systems Engineering Seminar

MMS Systems Engineering Panel Discussion: Tall Tales and Stories from Three Systems Engineers

Presented by:
Craig Tooley/500, Jessica Thompson/599, & Gary Davis/599

Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 1:00 pm
Building 3 Auditorium


NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission successfully completed commissioning activities on Sept. 1, 2015, and the four MMS spacecraft continue to fly in an adjustable tetrahedral formation that skims the Earth's magnetopause near every apogee, sampling that boundary and the myriad of plasma processes that occur there. MMS investigates how the Sun's and Earth's magnetic fields connect and disconnect, explosively transferring energy from one to the other in a process that is important at the Sun, other planets, and everywhere in the universe, known as magnetic reconnection. Reconnection limits the performance of fusion reactors and is the final governor of geospace weather that affects modern technological systems such as telecommunications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids. Four identically instrumented spacecraft measure plasmas, fields, and particles in a near-equatorial orbit that will frequently encounter reconnection in action.

Three members of the MMS systems engineering team will describe the trials, tribulations and excitement that went into building a fleet of four MMS satellites with a suite of 100 instruments. This will be a "panel discussion", so audience participation, comments, and questions will be highly encouraged!


Craig Tooley is the Deputy Director of the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate. He served as the Project manager for the Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) mission, the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Flight Project and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. Previously, Mr. Tooley was the Head of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Instrument Development Office at GSFC. In this capacity oversaw the development of instruments that were installed in the HST during the 4th HST servicing Mission. During his tenure in the HST Project Mr. Tooley also worked as part of the EVA Servicing Team, which developed procedures and trained astronauts for the successful SM3B servicing mission in 2002. Prior to working on the HST Project Mr. Tooley served as the Deputy Project Manager for the Triana Project. During his career at GSFC Mr. Tooley has served as the Mission Manager and Mechanical Engineering Lead for 5 successful Shuttle borne, solar science Spartan missions and held the position of Associate Branch Head of the Carrier Systems Branch. During the first part of his career he worked as an engineer the Mechanical, Attitude Control and Stabilization, and the Mission Analysis groups at GSFC. Mr. Tooley has been employed by NASA since 1983 and has a background in Mechanical Engineering. He earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Evansville and a MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland. He holds a Senior-Expert level of Project Management certification at NASA.

Jessica Thompson is currently the Deputy Project Systems Engineer of the DAVINCI mission, which is one of five concepts undergoing Phase A study in NASA's Discovery Program. She received a Bachelor's degree (2001) in Physics from Salisbury University. Ms. Thompson has served as a systems engineer for multiple missions including Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE), LandSat 8 Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS), and the recently successful Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) mission, where she focused on fault management and RF communications. Her career at NASA began in 2002 in NASA Wallops Flight Facility's Guidance, Navigation and Control and Mission Systems Engineering Branch. She served as an electronics engineer for multiple suborbital payloads including the Max Launch Abort System (MLAS), the Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS), and led student teams to develop and launch payloads on multiple platforms including CubeSats and scientific balloons.

Gary Davis began working for GSFC in the Propulsion Branch, supporting the Tropical Rainfall Measurement (TRMM) mission. This was followed by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) missions before moving into systems engineering for Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS), the recently-launched Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx), and the Lucy Discovery Proposal effort.


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