Monrovia-based Team Supports Historic Mission to Mars

This is the first image NASA’s Perseverance rover sent back after touching down on March on Feb. 18, 2021. The view is partially obscured by a dust cover. | Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL- Caltech

When Aerodyne joined Peraton’s Operations and Maintenance Team in support of the Deep Space Network (DSN) in Nov. 2018, it knew it would be involved in missions that would draw worldwide attention – like a Mission to Mars.

On July 30, 2020, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission launched from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a journey to the Red Planet. The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday, after a 203-day journey travelling 293 million miles.

“Team, what a great day and culmination of your extraordinary work with the successful landing of Perseverance on the surface of Mars. The DSN performed all but flawlessly again today and everything went right on plan,” said Sonny Giroux, program manager for Deep Space Network O&M Contract. “Doesn’t get better than this frankly and it is all owed to the many hours/days/weeks/months of planning, preparation, testing, training, briefing, analyzing, and maintaining by the great DSN Team!”

Aerodyne’s DSN team is located in Monrovia, CA, where personnel support all three DSN complexes around the globe. The team includes Receiving Clerk Juan Guzman, Shipping Clerk Pat Houlemard, Material Coordinators Jeff Madrigal, Dave Musson and Eliseo Orozco, Woodworkers Carlos Muro and Jose Muro, and Antenna Controls Engineer Ian O’Donnell.

“My team’s role is to ensure the servo control systems of the antennas are configured and are operating nominally and provide support and guidance if there are any problems,” said Ian.  “We will continue to verify that the antennas can track and collect data from Perseverance (the rover) and Ingenuity (the helicopter) for its entire mission.”

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