What I Do
I work for the Mars Pathfinder project. This is an unmanned spacecraft that will be
launched December 2, 1996 and will land July 4, 1997. It contains a camera to survey the
landing site, a weather station to record temperatures and atmospheric pressures, and a
rover. The rover is a small remote-controlled vehicle that will drive around and analyze
rocks and soil.
My job as test director involves leading a team that tests the spacecraft to make sure
everything works. The first step is to learn what the spacecraft can do and what the
scientists and engineers want it to do. This is a little easier for me because I was one
of the engineers who helped design it. In order to make sure everything gets tested, I
have made a list of every function the spacecraft performs. I then take these functions
and allocate them to specific tests.
The second step is to write test procedures. These procedures contain the steps
necessary to make the spacecraft perform a certain activity and the things we need to
look for in order to make sure it is performing correctly.