© 2020 Nicole Gonzalez.

M2020 MOTOR CONTROL, HARDWARE INTEGRATION & TEST

NASA JET PROPULSION LAB

In 2020, NASA is sending a rover back to Mars... this time searching for signs of past microbial life and collecting samples of the Martian surface in a cache for possible return to Earth in a future mission. As a Flight Hardware Test Engineer for the Mars 2020 mission, it was my job to validate the motor control electronics which operate the thrusters that will bring the rover close to the Mars surface safely as well as control the rover motors and sensors for mobility, the robotic arm, and instrument deployment. I spent most of my time in a class 10000 cleanroom carefully handling Flight electronics and solving problems, whether looking for logical errors in hundreds of lines of code or shorts between components in complex circuitry. I was awarded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Discovery Award and grew into the role of Deputy Motor Control Hardware Test Lead by taking on a large portion of the motor control test procedure development, automating functional tests with scripts, leading debug activities, and training new team members.