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Every month, the Mars Exploration Program Office at JPL honors an employee who has made a significant contribution to the work of sending spacecraft to Mars. Listed below are the "Martians of the Month" to date.


April: Jesse Wright

As chief designer and architect of the Mars Pathfinder Ground Data System, Jesse Wright was instrumental in developing a very capable ground system at low cost and in record time. His hard work and dedication were the catalyst for establishing a very effective environment where flight and ground software could be developed concurrently. In this setting, flight and ground system developers work as a team to produce Mars Pathfinder software.


May: Marc Lane

As cognizant engineer on the Backshell Interface Plate for the Mars Pathfinder Project, Marc Lane made three critical on-time deliveries in support of aeroshell work at Lockheed-Martin. He also spearheaded the design, analysis, and fabrication efforts for these deliverables. He maintains a positive, can-do attitude in spite of tight schedule and competition for resources.


June: George T. Chen

George Chen is responsible for successful implementation of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Attitude and Articulation Subsystem (AACS). George noticed a potential instability in the spacecraft, which could cause either a mission loss or potential instrument damage from Sun exposure. He worked with the MGS Project Team to successfully converge an acceptable design implementation and control strategy for the MGS spacecraft.


July: Mike Shirbacheh

As chief engineer for the Pathfinder's Power and Pyrotechnic Subsystem, Mike Shirbacheh is responsible for on-time delivery of the first flight system to Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO). He coordinates all flight system activities and is the cognizant engineer over all related efforts, including batteries, solar arrays, and electronics. Mike is continually developing streamlining processes used across the Pathfinder Project, while maintaining the integrity of the hardware. He has shown great leadership by forming a very effective team that does an excellent job meeting its commitments within cost and schedule.


August: David Gruel

As a member of the Mars Pathfinder AIM Integration and Test Team, David Gruel significantly contributed toward on-time delivery of the AIM subsystem to ATLO. David devoted months to this effort, including many planning hours to ensure success of the flight-qualification thermal test of the AIM gear.