Systems Engineering Seminar

Systems Engineering Challenges on the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA)

Presented by:
Brian Ottens, Code 592 and Zach Gonnsen, Code 592

August 8, 2017 - 1:00 pm
Building 8 Auditorium (GSFC)


The Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) payload enables key science on an exciting international mission to explore the Martian subsurface. A key component of that payload, the mass spectrometer, is developed by GSFC and its partners, and has presented both standard and unique challenges in Systems Engineering.

This seminar will overview the ExoMars 2020 rover mission, led by the European Space Agency (ESA); the MOMA payload & its measurement; the MOMA development partnership; and two noteworthy challenges experienced by MOMA systems engineers at GSFC.

Descriptions of the challenges will be accompanied by an overview of how they were addressed, and how information from these examples can be applied to almost any effort at Goddard.


Brian Ottens is currently the Lead Systems Engineer for the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer - Mass Spectrometer (MOMA-MS) at GSFC. He began his Systems Engineering work in 2004 while on detail to the Project Management and Systems Engineering Office at JSC, where he worked on an inspection camera that implemented a Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) recommendation. He has been practicing Instrument Systems Engineering at GSFC since 2008, and at Goddard his Systems Engineering work includes the Microshutters, a key enabling technology for JWST; and formulation work on the Lucy mission to the Trojans. He holds a Bachelor's of Mechanical Engineering from the Univ of Maryland, a Master's Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Johns Hopkins.

Zach Gonnsen is the Deputy Systems Engineer for the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer - Mass Spectrometer (MOMA-MS) at GSFC. He began at GSFC working on software testing of the efficiency of data encoding algorithms. He is also the Systems Engineer for the ILLUMA-T project, providing an optical communication user interface to the ISS that will use the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) to downlink and uplink high speed data. He has also assisted in various proposal efforts including work on DAVINCI, a Venus surface probe. He received a Masters and Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland and has been working at GSFC since January 2011.


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