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Pieter Kallemeyn
Navigation Team Leader
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Likes/Dislikes About Career

The best thing by far is knowing I'm playing a small but important role in the ongoing exploration of Mars and I'm having fun doing it. Mars is our next logical choice for a manned landing, but before we can do that we need a wealth of information obtained from the unmanned missions we're sending today. The work I do not only builds on the success of previous interplanetary missions, but will help future missions navigate their way to Mars.

What do I like the least? I don't know... Maybe when the computers go down and there's no way to get work done. Or maybe it's when things get too busy? Or maybe it's the coffee? Actually, there's so much I like about the job I barely notice things I don't like.


As a kid, I built and flew model airplanes and rockets. Through those hobbies I learned a lot about flight mechanics, stability and Newton's laws of motion. School taught me that those same principles apply to launch vehicles in the same way they apply on model rockets. I still build and fly them today, when I have time!

I read a lot in school, too, mostly science fiction and history. I encourage students I meet to read as much history as they can because it helps us understand how people and governments behave and how events shape lives and vice versa. Reading about the history of the Space Age is most interesting to me because it's so recent (only 30-40 years) and I can relate to it so well.

Personal Information

I've been married for six years and we have a 19-month old son. It's going to be interesting to watch him grow up in this age where we've already been to the Moon, computers are commonplace, and the planets of our solar system have been photographed.

In addition to flying model airplanes and rockets, I like to go hiking and camping. We like to spend the day at the beach flying kites and looking for shells and top it off with dinner at a great local Japanese restaurant.

One of these days I'd love to go on a cattle drive. When I retire I'd like to live on a ranch in Colorado.

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