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Dan Johnston
Trajectory and Aerobraking Design Analyst
Global Surveyor Operations Project, Navigation Team
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California


My father was a career officer in the United States Air Force and retired from the military after 28 years on active duty. As the son of an air force officer I have been around high-performance aircraft all my life. I have always been intrigued with how and why these vehicles fly. Some of my fondest memories growing up I associate with the air force open houses staged at the different military bases where we lived and the precision-flying demonstrations held at these annual air shows. I have also always been very interested in the extension of flight to the realm of space and beyond. Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in the activities associated with the American space program and NASA. This probably comes from my recollections of watching the Apollo lunar landings and the splashdown/recovery operations on television in addition to viewing hours and hours of "Star Trek."

I also have a keen interest in history, in particular, military history and the exploration and colonization of the New World. I view the work that I now perform as an important first step in the opening of a new frontier for future generations.

Personal Information

As a military dependent growing up, I have had the opportunity to live all around the world in addition to the opportunity to travel extensively. While growing up, we moved on a fairly regular basis and by the time I started college I had lived in Louisiana, France, Germany, Texas, Virginia, Okinawa and Nebraska.

I have been married to my wife Suzanne for seven years. She is the regional property underwriting manager (commercial lines insurance underwriter) for a major insurance company. We have two daughters, Katie and Emily. Katie (3 years old) is a determined youngster who has become quite the conversationalist. Much to the relief of her parents, Emily (3 months old) is an extremely happy baby whose favorite pastime is napping.

For leisure time, I enjoy getting outdoors and playing softball and tennis. I also like going to amusement parks, movies, and the beach. As a family, we enjoy weekend camping expeditions as well as outings to the zoo and local parks.

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