UCLA Samueli Alumni at NASA
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Following is a partial list compiled from NASA’s Mars Exploration Program website of Bruin Engineers who work in various capacities involving the Mars 2020 mission.

Lauren Chu

Lauren Chu M.S. ’11
Aerospace Engineering
Mechanical Engineer. Worked as a testbed lead developing the coring drill, engineering the coring drill bits, implementing design, manufacturing and extensive life testing.

Olya Filimonova

Olya Filimonova ’12
Aerospace Engineering
Mass Properties Engineer. Worked on recording all of the components that come to the spacecraft and its mass properties (mass, center of gravity, moments of inertia). Designed the balance masses needed to adjust the spaceship’s center of gravity.

Reza Ghaffarian

Reza Ghaffarian M.S. ’79, Eng. ’80, Ph.D. ’82
Principal Engineer. Led R&D reliability and quality assurance activities in advanced electronics packaging technologies and has been a subject matter expert (SME) for most JPL spaceflight projects. Assessed and revised electronics and electronics-hardware images to ensure their suitability for a Mars environment.

Jennifer Herman

Jennifer Herman M.S. ’04
Chemical Engineering
Power Subsystem Engineer. Led the Power Subsystem Operations team.

Amanda Ho

Amanda Ho ’15
Aerospace Engineering
Mechanical Engineer. Worked on the rover chassis team as a design engineer doing CAD work, engineering drawings and assembly stack ups for primary and secondary structures.

Robert Hogg

Robert Hogg ’98
Computer Science and Engineering
Senior Systems Engineer. Worked on system design for the remote science area, interface engineering for the helicopter to the rover, and as a lead surface engineer for the surface phase of Mars 2020.

Boyan Kartolov

Boyan Kartolov M.S. ’12
Mechanical Engineering
Systems Engineer, Environmental Assurance. Worked as a Payload Environmental Requirements Engineer.

Megan Lin

Megan Lin M.S. ’13
Mechanical Engineering
Deputy Project Manager. Implemented rock core drilling and core break-off testing, which informed the design and prototypes of the drill bit.

Kevin Mark

Kevin Mark ’16
Aerospace Engineering
Propulsion Engineer. Worked on the Sample Caching Purge System, crucial to protecting Mars rock samples from contamination from something the rover brings with it from Earth.

Christopher Matthes

Christopher Matthes M.S. ’13, Ph.D.’16
Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering; Doctorate, Aerospace Engineering
Systems Engineer. Worked on construction, integration and operation of JPL’s testbed rover and its electrical system, including electrical harnessing, mechanisms and avionics.

Avi Okon

Avi Okon ’02 & M.S. ’05
Mechanical Engineering
Domain Lead for Sample Handling. Worked as a Deputy Lead System Engineer for the rover’s Sample and Caching System, helped prepare and organize the sample collection process.

Richard Rainen

Richard Rainen ’83
Materials Science
Chief Mechanical Engineer. Coordinated and checked mechanical systems including the rocket interface, cruise system, Entry, Descent and Landing hardware and sampling collection system.

Sean Reilly

Sean Reilly M.S. ’10, Ph.D. ’13
Mechanical Engineering
Thermal Systems Engineer. Engineered and tested thermal components including cruise stage HRS radiators, heaters, and temperature sensors, tested the LCAm and SuperCam instruments, and installed the rover’s nuclear power source on the Cape Canaveral launchpad.

Ryan Stern

Ryan Stern M.S. ’03
Electrical Engineering
Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) Engineer. Contributed to the design and verification of FPGAs in descent and rotor motor controllers, and the Fast Traverse autonomous navigation system.

MIchael Stragier

Michael Stragier M.S. ’17
Mechanical Engineering
Flight System System Engineer. Managed the Thermal Control System, Rover Mechanical and Mobility System, facilitating testing of flight software, image acquisition, terrain analysis and subsequent maneuverability based on vehicle perception.

Thanh Tran

Thanh Tran ’95
Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineer. Managed the manufacturing of 13 electronic boxes controlling electrical power during cruise stage, descent stage and rover stage.

Mark Underwood

Mark Underwood ’81
Chemical Engineering
Mission Assurance Manager. Worked with a team to develop and deliver the requirements and verification for mission environments, electronic parts and reliability, provided quality assurance for hardware and software, and independent risk assessment throughout the development cycle.

Paul Woodmansee

Paul Woodmansee ’85
Aerospace Engineering
Propulsion Engineer. Worked on propellant and pressurant tanks, and reaction control thrusters.

Vincent Wong

Vincent Wong ’16
Computer Science
Flight Software Engineer. Worked on the Onboard Planner AI System, implementing the rover’s ability to efficiently make decisions about its activities while on Mars.