Team

Name: Rieger, Samantha
Role: Mission and Maneuver Design Analyst
Organization: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Joined OSIRIS-REx: May 2017

Bio:

Samantha first started working on OSIRIS-REx as an intern with Lockheed Martin as an undergraduate at Purdue University. She had so much fun learning about this mission that she went to University of Colorado – Boulder for her doctoral program, where she did research on the astrodynamics of spacecraft and natural satellites around Near-Earth asteroids. In graduate school, Samantha received the honor of becoming a Smead Scholar and the NASA Science & Technology Research Fellowship recipient. Through her research fellowships at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, she began working on the OSIRIS-REx mission again, which has led her to the exciting job she has today! When she isn’t designing maneuvers for the spacecraft, Samantha enjoys rock climbing, skiing, traveling, and learning about world history.



Name: Rizk, Bashar
Role: Lead - OCAMS Instrument Scientist
Organization: University of Arizona
Joined OSIRIS-REx: September 2006

Bio:

Bashar has worked as an applied physicist in a University research and development setting for 40 years on various R&D projects. Thirty-five of those years have been at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, working on spacecraft and remote sensing system design & development, test, calibration, planning & operations, data processing and analysis. He has also worked in radiometry, thermal modeling, radiative transfer, photogrammetry & stereo-photoclinometry, ground-based astronomy, noise analysis, integrated circuit fabrication, laser and microwave device system development and elementary particle physics. Bashar was born in Damascus, Syria, but mostly grew up in cloudy Champaign-Urbana, IL and hazy Greensboro, NC before he crossed the Mississippi and Rockies and discovered Tucson, AZ and its clear nighttime skies. He enjoys writing, biking and spending time with his wife and 2 children. He holds a BS in physics and chemistry, an MS in physics, and a PhD in planetary sciences.



Name: Roper, Heather
Role: Media Specialist Senior
Organization: University of Arizona
Joined OSIRIS-REx: October 2013

Bio:

Heather joined the OSIRIS-REx Communication and Public Engagement team early on in her career. She has supported the team and the mission by using her work to help captivate the public's attention during the spacecraft's assembly, launch, asteroid operations, and sample collection phases of the mission. Heather performs a variety of roles which make her a valued part of the team: visual communications, content strategy, creation and management, and public and media relations. As a University of Arizona alumni, she holds a Bachelor’s of Visual Communication and enjoys spending her time outside of work travelling and horseback riding.



Name: Rowlands, Dave
Role: Asteroid Scientist - Radio Scientist
Organization: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Joined OSIRIS-REx: 2011

Bio:



Name: Ryan, Andrew “Andy”
Role: Postdoctoral Research Associate II - TAWG
Organization: University of Arizona
Joined OSIRIS-REx: October 2015

Bio:

Andy Ryan stared with OSIRIS-REx as a graduate student in 2015. He worked on developing laboratory experiments to study the thermal properties of asteroid regolith simulants and worked as an OTES instrument operator during the Earth gravity-assist mission phase. In 2018, Andy was hired as a postdoc, first at the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice, France then at the University of Arizona, to develop new numerical tools for thermal analysis of the asteroid, and to aid in thermal data analysis. Andy holds a BS in Environmental Geoscience from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and both a Master of Science and PhD in Geological Sciences from Arizona State University. Andy enjoys cooking, playing guitar, reading, studying the French language, and spending time with his dog, Abby, and cat, Oats.



Name: Sahr, Eric
Role: Optical Navigation Engineer
Organization: KinetX, Inc.
Joined OSIRIS-REx: 2017

Bio:

Eric Sahr is an Optical Navigation Engineer working for KinetX Aerospace in Simi Valley, California. He joined the OSIRIS-REx Optical Navigation Team in 2017. Prior to working in navigation, he worked on OSIRIS-REx at the SPOC as an undergraduate employee and as a graduate student. Eric earned his Bachelor’s of Science in 2015 and his Master’s of Science in 2017, both in systems engineering at the University of Arizona. During his undergraduate work, he led a team of undergraduates to propose, design, build, and fly with an experiment in microgravity. When not flying spacecraft, he enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, traveling, photography, and board games



Name: Sallitt, Debbie
Role: OSIRIS-REx Financial Manager
Organization: X3M Systems, LLC/Goddard Space Flight Center
Joined OSIRIS-REx: September 2016

Bio:

Debbie has supported NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Flight Projects for 30 years in financial management. She joined the OSIRIS-Rex team prior to launch. Debbie is responsible for the financial management of the Mission Operations Phase E/F budgets and life cycle cost of the Mission. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland.



Name: Sanders, Sara
Role: Test Engineer
Organization: Lockheed Martin Space
Joined OSIRIS-REx: June 2019

Bio:

Sara graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering – Boiler up! Prior to Lockheed Martin, she supported NASA’s Constellation Space Suit System and the Orion project. She came to LM Space in 2017 where she worked in the Military Support division as a Systems Engineer. When the opportunity arose, Sara was very excited to join Deep Space Exploration with the OSIRIS-REx team. That excitement has never wavered! When not nerding out over space news, Sara enjoys snuggling with her 3 dogs, backpacking with her boyfriend, and playing soccer.



Name: Selznick, Sanford
Role: Science Data Processing Lead
Organization: Selznick Scientific Software, LLC
Joined OSIRIS-REx: June 2012

Bio:

Sanford Selznick started with the OSIRIS-REx mission as an OCAMS engineer building the Commanding and Telemetry Interface before becoming the Science Data Processing Lead. He holds a Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Arizona. In his spare time, Sanford has launched a new start-up with two colleagues named Ascending Node Technologies, LLC. Sanford enjoys swimming and skiing, and then swimming and skiing some more. When not working on science data processing, Sanford can be found spending time with his family and large, loveable dog.



Name: Skeen, Mike
Role: Systems Engineering and Test
Organization: Lockheed Martin Space
Joined OSIRIS-REx: June 2012

Bio:

Mike first joined the OSIRIS-REx team as a college intern and was later hired full time in the systems engineering group during the OSIRIS-REx design phase. He continued with the mission into the operation phase after launch. Throughout his time on OSIRIS-REx, Mike worked in many areas including TAG development, design studies, verification and validation, system integration and test, and operations product development. Mike also supports the Janus and Lunar Trailblazer missions within Deep Space Exploration. Mike has Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder. While at CU, Mike worked on the DANDE space weather spacecraft and researched Mars entry, descent, and landing (EDL) systems.



Name: Small, Jeff
Role: Orbit Determination Analyst
Organization: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Joined OSIRIS-REx: February 2018

Bio:

Jeff Small has a bachelor's degree in physics from James Madison University and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Penn State University. After graduating from Penn State in December 2017, Jeff worked for the Aerospace Corporation before joining the Navigation and Mission Design Branch (NMDB) at NASA GSFC as a civil servant in July of 2020. Jeff’s expertise is in spacecraft navigation with a focus on orbit determination. Outside of work, Jeff enjoys playing guitar, cooking, tennis, and hiking.



Name: Smith, Peter
Role: Asteroid Scientist - Image Processing
Organization: University of Arizona

Bio:



Name: Swenson, Jason
Role: Flight Dynamics Engineer
Organization: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Joined OSIRIS-REx: July 2018

Bio:

Jason Swenson holds two Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jason was originally part of the Mission Design Center (MDC) at NASA Ames Research Center, before finally joining the Navigation and Mission Design Branch (NMDB) at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). In addition to his passion for space exploration, Jason enjoys creating music, hiking, reading, and doing puzzles of all types.



Name: Walsh, Kevin
Role: RDWG Lead
Organization: Southwest Research Institute
Joined OSIRIS-REx: 2013

Bio:

Kevin Walsh studies the dynamics of solar system asteroids and planets and the geology of rubble pile asteroids, hunting for ways to deliver water to the Earth while the planets were still forming and also how to re-shape and small asteroids and build their satellites. Kevin is the lead scientist for the Regolith Science on OSIRIS-REx, whose group has mapped the boulders and craters across the surface of Bennu.

Kevin has an asteroid named in his honor (7987) Walshkevin, which is a very excellent asteroid.



Name: Westermann, Mathilde
Role: Science Operations Planning Engineer
Organization: University of Arizona
Joined OSIRIS-REx: January 2016

Bio:

Mathilde Westermann began her career working on OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona as a graduate student intern. After receiving her degree in the summer of 2016, she was hired on the mission full time to work as part of the Science Planning Team, designing and implementing science observations. Mathilde has a B.S. in Geoscience and an M.S. in Geographic Information Systems, both from the University of Arizona. She is a born and raised Tucsonan who loves the desert and its creatures including her husband and dog Mr. Otto. Mathilde plans to continue working with OSIRIS-REx through sample analysis and hopes to work on other space missions in the future.



Name: Wibben, Dr. Dan
Role: Maneuver and Trajectory Design Lead
Organization: KinetX, Inc.
Joined OSIRIS-REx: 2011

Bio:

Dan Wibben is the Maneuver and Trajectory Design lead for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission with the Space Navigation and Flight Dynamics practice at KinetX Aerospace, Inc. Prior to joining KinetX in 2015, he worked at the University of Arizona as the OSIRIS-REx Science Processing and Operations Center Systems Engineer. He originally joined the mission as a graduate student at the University of Arizona in 2011. He received his B.S. degrees in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona where his research was focused on nonlinear guidance techniques for asteroid proximity operations and planetary landing.



Name: Williams, Bobby G.
Role: KinetX Director of Space Flight Dynamics and Navigation
Organization: KinetX, Inc.
Joined OSIRIS-REx: January 2007

Bio:

Bobby G. Williams holds degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the U. of Texas (B.S. and M.S.) and the U. of Southern California (PhD). While employed at CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he eventually headed the orbit determination teams at JPL for the Viking missions to Mars, the Pioneer Venus Orbiter mission, and the Earth oceanographic mission TOPEX/Poseidon; he was Navigation Team Chief for the NEAR mission to asteroid Eros. He participated in gravity field determination for both Mars and Venus and was a member of the Phobos Experiment Team that first determined the mass of the Martian moon, Phobos, from spacecraft tracking data. At JPL and later at KinetX Aerospace, he has supported navigation trade studies and design for many space mission proposals, including proposals and site visits for OSIRIS and OSIRIS-REx. His wife, Beverly, three children, and seven grandchildren keep him grounded in spite of having his head in space.



Name: Williams, Kenneth
Role: Flight Director
Organization: KinetX, Inc.

Bio:

Ken graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Physics. He joined KinetX, Inc. in 2007, where he has served as Flight Director of the Space Navigation and Flight Dynamics practice at KinetX, Inc., supporting navigation for MESSENGER, New Horizons and several other NASA missions. Prior to joining KinetX, he had also worked on NEAR at JHU/APL and Cassini, Genesis, Stardust and Phoenix at JPL. He joined OSIRIS-REx as part of the Step 1 proposal effort, serving as the original Nav Team Chief through Phase C development, and is currently an advisor to current Nav Team Chief Peter Antreasian. Ken is a recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal for his work as Stardust Navigation Team Chief for the comet sample return. He intends to provide such experience to help ensure a successful return of regolith samples from Bennu to Earth.



Name: Wolff, Pete
Role: Navigation Team
Organization: KinetX, Inc.
Joined OSIRIS-REx: 2012

Bio:



Name: Wolner, Cat
Role: Chief Editor & Documentarian
Organization: University of Arizona
Joined OSIRIS-REx: September 2018

Bio:

Cat came to OSIRIS-REx via a meandering path through writing, editing, program coordination, and geoscience. Before moving to Tucson, she spent several years in D.C. working for the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and the journal Science, along with some memorable summers of field work in the Tobacco Root Mountains of Montana and on the barrier islands off the Eastern Shore of Virginia. In 2014, her team at the USGCRP received an Award for Excellence from the Obama administration for outstanding contributions to the Third National Climate Assessment. Cat holds a BA in Geology from Oberlin College and an MS in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. A retired rugby player, she enjoys hiking, stretching, traveling, reading fiction, and spending time with her companion and their cat.



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View OSIRIS-REx Co-Investigators



Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, Tucson, is the principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx, and the University of Arizona also leads the science team and the mission’s science observation planning and data processing. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the spacecraft and is providing flight operations. Goddard and KinetX Aerospace are responsible for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Collaborators from institutions around the US and other countries also contribute their expertise.

OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL manages New Frontiers for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.

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