Getting a closeup view of the Pathfinder engineering models (and the team)

Spring, 1998. From left: Dr. Bob Anderson and Rob Manning, chief Pathfinder engineer and me. Robb had the ultra-complicated job of getting Pathfinder to the surface of Mars. For example, when Pathfinder was entering the Martian atmosphere at a very high speed there were many steps that had to occur in order for it to succeed. All the explosive bolts had to fire at exactly the right time and in the right order for the parachute to open and the airbags deploy, etc. There were at least 50 different points of that type that would have caused a failure if not executed perfectly. Well, the flight hardware and the flight software worked perfectly. Robb Manning was in charge of making it work.

Here he is when the team first found out that Pathfinder was safely on Mars!

Robb's job for Pathfinder ended at that triumphant moment.


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