findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are
those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily
reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
To MARS with MER - RESEARCH/ers
Mechanical Engineering section
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Differences between working at JPL and at KSC
Down here we're doing it for the last time. So when you're actually doing the actual integration you feel this sense of accomplishment: it's the last time we're going to torque this bolt, it's the last time we're going to stow this PMA (payload mast assembly), it's the last time we're going to stow the wheels. And that gives you this feeling of, "Gee, that's the last time I'm going to do this, and that's the last thing this is going to do before it goes to Mars." So that's one of the big differences.
The second one has been pace. The pace at JPL was fast and furious. Everything needed to be done boom, boom, boom, boom. We were trying to get the vehicles put together so we could get in the system test, the thermal test, vibration, whatever the testing that we were going to do and we moved at a very rapid pace.
Down here, because this is the last time that we're going to do this, and we have to make sure that we've dotted all of our "I's" and crossed all of our "T's", we're taking painstaking amounts of time to make sure that every bolt has been torqued properly, Quality Assurance has gone over everything twice, and that all of our paperwork looks good.