Hello, my name is Brent Hyatt and I am the Data Management Systems lead engineer.
Before I tell you about my job, let me first tell you a little about my family and how I
became an engineer.
When I was young I remember watching a man walk on the moon, and I remember the first
shuttle flights when I was in high school. I always thought about how exciting it would
be to be an astronaut. However I did not decide what career I would pursue until I was in
college. I found I enjoyed both math and science in elementary school, but I continued to
take classes in a wide range of subjects until my third year of college. At this time I
decided based of my enjoyment of applying math to solve problems, I would become an
engineer. After discussions with different engineers I chose Electrical Engineering.
I have two children (and another one on the way), my daughter is six years old and is
thoroughly enjoying kindergarten and my son is three. I have brought them to work on
several occasions and their curiosity has been inspiring. That curiosity of how things
work in the world around us is a wonderful trait and it is something I hope to
continually encourage in my children.
Now let me tell you a little about my job. As I said earlier, I am the Data Management
Systems lead engineer. But what is the data management system? The data management system
is the link by which all other systems or functions on HST communicate; it is also the
system that processes commands, stores data and commands, and provides the timing for HST.
The responsibility of the Data Management Systems engineering team is divided into two
areas, the first is Operational support and the second is Servicing Mission support.
Operational support includes the continuous monitoring of our subsystem and the support
of the weekly science schedule. Servicing Mission support includes the development of new
hardware, and preparing for the Servicing Mission in which the astronauts replace certain
components on HST.
Each area has some exciting work and some not so exciting work. In the operational
area, the most exciting and often the most demanding work occurs when a problem is
discovered. The problem may involve some hardware that has broken, software that has not
executed properly, or a set of instructions that has not executed as expected. When this
happens, a team of engineers is formed to identify the problem, find the cause, and find
a solution. Depending on how serious the problem is, this can involve around the clock
work until the problem is solved.
Servicing Mission work is also quite interesting. I get to work with those who support
the astronauts and occasionally the astronauts themselves. The amount of work and the
attention to detail that goes into a nine to eleven day mission is just unimaginable.
This work involves new challenges continually. Because the data management system
communicates with all the other parts of HST, I get to see how each part of HST works
together, and I am continually learning from each experience. I still remember the
excitement and wonder I felt watching a man walk on the moon. While I have never been in
space, I cannot describe to you how exciting it was to watch the astronauts use
procedures I help develop during the launch of HST and especially during the First
Servicing Mission. Being a part of that team will always be a memorable moment of my