23 Aug 2014
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Cal Poly Pomona Alums Behind Mars Mission

Nearly 20 CSU alumni who work for JPL contributed to NASA's Curiosity rover landing, including eight Cal Poly Pomona graduates.

Cal Poly Pomona Alums Behind Mars Mission

NASA’s Curiosity rover landing on Mars earlier this month was made possible with the hard work of several alumni from Cal Poly Pomona.

According to California State University officials, nearly 20 CSU alumni who work for JPL contributed to the mission, including eight from the Pomona campus.  The engineers and scientists involved had a variety of roles in the effort, which captured the country’s attention and earned the team a call from President Barack Obama, according to a story on the Cal State website.

Cal Poly Pomona alumnus Martin Greco’s job was to write the procedure for the last six days of the rover’s mission to Mars, known as the entry, landing, and descent period, Cal State reported. 

Greco graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in aerospace engineering.  He said he was drawn to mystery of space at an early age.

“Since I was little playing with plastic blocks and putting together models, air and space have always been something I wanted to be a part of,” Greco said. “I hope that one day we are able to land humans on Mars. This would not only increase our understanding of the planet itself, but more importantly provide a huge leap in our understanding of manned spaceflight.”

Below is a list of the all of the CSU alumni involved:

  • Charles Baker, CSU Sacramento -- MSL Launch, Cruise and EDL Mission Planner
  • Ed Bennet, CSU Los Angeles -- Configuration Management Engineer
  • Ekko Burt, Cal Poly Pomona -- Electrical Engineer
  • Michael Cayanan, Cal Poly Pomona -- Software Engineer
  • Dina El Deeb, CSU Northridge, CSU Los Angeles -- Tactical Downlink Lead, Systems Engineer, Mission Assurance Support
  • Jordan Evans, San Diego State -- Engineering Development and Operations Manager-Mars Science Laboratory
  • Barrie Gauthier, CSU Long Beach -- Electrical Systems Engineer
  • Martin Greco, Cal Poly Pomona -- EDL Activity Lead
  • Jose Guzman, Cal Poly Pomona -- Integration and Test Engineer
  • Quy Ho, Cal Poly Pomona-- Software Engineer
  • Ted Iskenderian, Cal Poly Pomona -- Senior Mechanical Engineer, Cognizant Engineer of Rover Lift Mechanism
  • Bill Kert, CSU Los Angeles -- Contract Negotiator
  • Alfred Khashaki, Cal Poly Pomona -- Design Engineer
  • Mark Ryne, San Diego State -- Senior Member Technical Staff
  • Paul Stella, CSU Northridge -- Principal Engineer, Spacecraft Power Systems
  • Scot Stride, CSU Fullerton -- Member of Technical Staff
  • Peter Xaypraseuth, Cal Poly Pomona -- Mission Planner, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project

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