Spitzer Profile: Chuck Scott
Spitzer Mission Manager
Posted April 21, 2005
|Charles "Chuck" Scott with his family in 2003.
My name is Charles "Chuck" Scott, and I am the Spitzer Mission Manager. The Mission Manager's job is to ensure that all aspects of mission operations run smoothly. This can range from making decisions on configuration changes to the spacecraft, to allowing changes in the ground data system (software), and even when a command will be sent to the spacecraft. I am also one of the few who will receive a call in the middle of the night (usually at 3am) to come in and take care of a problem with the spacecraft or ground system.
I was actually born and raised in Southern California, and my parents worked at JPL. So naturally I followed in their footsteps. I have been interested in space since I was in grade school, but really got hooked when I saw the Columbia Space Shuttle land at Edwards Air Force Base back in 1980. In high school I wrestled for 3 years and went to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Sectionals my senior year. I was never a great student up through high school (although I did take Advance Placement classes), but I really shined in college. I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from Northern Arizona University (NAU), and loved to play racquetball during that time.
I started at JPL in Space Flight Operations for the Magellan project. I was part of a team that corrected the spacecraft's solid-state recorder errors in the ground system. From there I was part of the Galileo team that redesigned the ground system (to match changes in the flight system) allowing Galileo to have a successful Low Gain Antenna mission, after the High Gain Antenna failed to open.
I married my beautiful wife Teresa in 1995, and then I did the unthinkable... I left JPL and went to work for Earthlink Network when they were still just a start up company. I worked in the Information Technology division, and had a great time. I was then asked to come to NASA Dryden to lead a software development group for the Western Aeronautical Test Range (WATR). I took this position since Earthlink was not a stable company yet, and we were expecting our first child. After three years I found myself managing both development and operations of the WATR.
In 1999 JPL asked me to come back to work on the Mission Data System for Mars Science Lander (MSL), and to be a Technical Group Supervisor (but that was short lived). My section then asked me to start and be a mentor for SIRTF V&V. The rest is history... I became the Spitzer Multi-Mission Support Office (MMSO) Manager setting up the Ground Data System and most of the operations teams. Post launch I was one of the Flight Directors, then Associate Mission Manager, and now Mission Manager.
Wow... you don't realize how long the road was until you actually write it down.
I spend my time away from JPL raising my three boys (Steven, Michael, and Brian), doing home-improvement projects, camping, and I even play racquetball occasionally.