Christopher Salvo
Flight Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Best and Worst of My Job

The best thing about my job is the nature of the missions that are accomplished by the things that I help design and build. I really believe in exploration and scientific research, so I have a personal stake in the things that I do. It is certainly not just a 9-to-5 grindstone-type job for me.

The two worst things about my job are the time it takes to get things to happen, and the amount of stuff that I actually get to do. I am impatient and I am interested in everything. I want missions to be decided upon, funded, and implemented much more quickly than they currently are, and I want to be a part of all of the designing, building, and operating from the initial concept formation to the bolting of things together to pushing the button on launch day. My ideal job would be a very small team on a very short schedule. Pathfinder is a significant step in that direction, but I think there is farther to go.

More About Me

I grew up in a small town (~10,000 people) near Austin, Texas. It was quite different than living in Los Angeles like I do now (well, actually I live in Pasadena which is broadly included when referring to Los Angeles). There were far fewer people and much more open space in Texas. I went to a great school that offered a lot of activities outside of the main subjects of study. I played French horn in the school band for seven years, all the way through high school, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was one of the most important things in my life at the time. I did not keep up with it after high school, but I still feel that it is a part of me and I would like to take it up again someday.

I have been married for almost five years to a bright and wonderful woman. My wife, Leticia (Lety for short), has a Masters of Public Administration and works in redevelopment (that is where communities work to improve the quality of life in run-down urban areas by tearing down unkept and abandoned buildings and replacing them with new things like shopping centers, hospitals, and parks). We do not have any kids, yet, but we think we will adopt a cat soon. Lety has introduced me to a number of things that I now enjoy, like spicy Mexican food, basketball, and running. We are both interested in sports and the outdoors and we do all sorts of things together. We like to mountain bike, hike, snow ski, and take trips to far away places (where we can then mountain bike, hike, and enjoy the sights). Some of our best trips have been to Hawaii, Seattle, Washington DC and neighboring states, and all over Arizona and southern Utah. We also like to go to basketball games, hockey games, baseball games, symphonies and movies.

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