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Matt Wallace
Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) Manager
Mars Exploration Rovers mission
NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California

"ATLO Day 1, March 1 2001"

P2K: What do you have behind you (in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at JPL), what's down there and why is it there?

Matt Wallace: In the High Bay back here, which is a clean area, is where we're going to do all the assembly work for the spacecraft, and right now it's a little bare. Mostly what we have is our support equipment that's getting ready to be used for assembly and installation of the flight hardware. And this High Bay is going to be one hopping place in about two or three months from now. We're going to have two spacecraft that are going to be separated out and their various parts, they'll have cruise stages and back shells and air shells and heat shields and landers, rovers, everywhere you look there's going to be a piece of flight hardware and somewhere on the order of forty to fifty people scampering around down here. So it's going to be a hot bed, and it's going to be a lot of fun.

P2K: What comes after ATLO for the mission?

Matt Wallace: Well, ATLO is a pretty long period here. We're going to have about fifteen to seventeen months of ATLO and as I said we'll pack up, we'll get down to the Cape, we'll go through somewhere between three and five months of activities down there getting ready for the launch. And the ATLO team stacks the spacecraft onto the launch vehicle, onto the rocket, they help prepare the rocket for launch once it's out on the pad. And after you light the wick there and the rocket's gone from the pad, we officially transition from the ATLO period to the operations period and we hand off into mission operations.

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