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Pete Theisinger
Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

"Driving to the Review Board, October 2001"

P2K: I think someone else said about Critical Design Review's that "steel strengthens steel." Is that right?

Pete Theisinger: Oh, I don't think so. I, er... I've never felt that they are that way. I think that the Review Boards are your friends. They are there to help. It is true that they are not accountable for the product... and it's true that, you know, sometimes the advice they give is gratuitous, but that's good. You want the widest possible, expansive view of what we are doing, in order for us to sieve that, and... get some nuggets of gold out of it.

P2K: 11TH December, what are things in the next couple of months that have to go right for the mission to go right???

Pete Theisinger: Well, we are... we're in the middle of it. You know that old saw about "You never want to go to a sausage factory, because you'll never eat sausage if you do that"? Well, we're in the middle of the sausage factory of flight project development now. We are in fabrication. There are, of course, always problems that come up with those kinds of things. We are working through those. We are... um... the design is complete, but we are very tight on mass, as I think you probably know, and so we are struggling every day to keep that under control. And as you know, this was a very ambitious schedule from the beginning, and so we are fighting every day to keep the schedule under control.

I think the things that have gotta happen, is we've got to continue to deliver flight hardware, and engineering model hardware, on schedule over the next two months, in order to hold onto the test schedule next year, and we have to keep the mass within our management parameters in order to... not get too heavy to be launchable in 03. Those are the challenges over the next couple of months.

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