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Tomasso Rivellini
Airbag Design Consultant, and Engineer
Landing system designer, for the Mobile Science Laboratory (Mars 2009)
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

P2K: The way Brian Muirhead (the Pathfinder Deputy Project Manager) tells it, this was your first real job with flight hardware: this was a pretty hard way to start!

Tom Rivellini: You know, I was, what?, 24 when I first came to JPL and I designed a little bracket that was about that big, (gestures to indicate a pretty small item), that went up on an Air Force satellite, and I thought that was pretty neat. But then Pathfinder came along and, you know, basically I was too ignorant to know that I was getting in way over my head (laughs), and I actually think most people were too ignorant just in terms of what the Pathfinder spacecraft development was going to turn into to know that they should never have given me this job. But, nonetheless, I got the job, and I just, you know, I woke every morning and was just totally enthusiastic about it, and just totally loved it. And so it was easy to put in many hours, and weekends and everything that it took to make it happen.

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