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To MARS with MER - RESEARCH/ers

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: How hard has your team been working over the past few months?

Matt Wallace: They've been working hard. They're ready to go. In some ways, we've been in a planning and preparation mode for the last four to six months, and I would venture to say that some of the guys working from five in the morning literally to midnight at night trying to get the hardware ready to get to us are the guys in the hot seat right now. But in just another couple weeks all that's going to change and our guys will be doing the same type of hours and the same type of, working just as aggressively as the subsystems engineers are trying to get the hardware delivered. I think our time is mostly to come, when it comes to those kinds of hours.

P2K: What is your position vis--vis all the other subcontractors around the country, other people around here at JPL? If you had to tell them something to get them to bring it in to you quicker, what would you say to them?

Matt Wallace: Well, I wish there was something I could say. I don't think there is. The truth of the matter is that this program only has had about a year and a half for development, which is, I sound like I'm repeating myself, tremendously aggressive already. I think most of our vendors and subcontractors have already signed up to very difficult schedules and most of them are producing on the schedule. So I wish there was a magic word I could say or a simple switch you could throw that would make things go a bit easier, even if it meant throwing more money or finding different people to help. But I don't think there is, unfortunately. And my position relative to them is that really I'm the ultimate customer and I have, the project has other people driving the interfaces with the vendor. So to a large degree I'm counting on those guys coming through and bringing it in. I know a lot of these guys, a lot of these guys worked on Pathfinder and other programs with me, and I know they're going to do it.

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