Earth, My Favorite Planet

JPL is mostly known for its Mars rover missions (such as Spirit & Opportunity and the more recent rovers that you can read about in my first blog post) and deep space missions such as Voyager and Cassini. However, JPL also contributes significantly to Earth Science missions for NASA – missions that study our planet and help us better understand how it is changing. In fact, up to 25% of JPL’s business on average is dedicated to Earth Science, and most of my career at JPL thus far has been working on satellites that orbit and monitor the Earth. 

Bending the Fabric of Space… into a Dress!

My Finished Space-Themed Dress

From the sock puppet I made in elementary school to fixing minor issues with my clothes, I’ve always had an affinity for sewing. My mom and younger sister sew (and knit) as well, so one could say it runs in the family.  :‌)  In 2014, I decided to up my sewing game mainly because I wanted the skills to design and construct my own costumes for Halloween, Cosplay, themed events, and so on. My mom gifted me a sewing machine, I took a few sewing lessons, and (with guidance and help from The Sewing Studio in Old Town Pasadena) I made my first costume from scratch – Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games.  To commemorate this milestone in my sewing endeavors, I did a photoshoot of the finished product with my husband, who is a photography hobbyist.

When NASA goes to Hollywood

Me with the InSight Emmy Award, 2019

After moving to the Los Angeles area in 2011, I noticed a common question from people I met outside of work: “Do you work in the industry?”  I genuinely didn’t know what this meant at first and asked, “What industry? Aerospace?” After all, there are over 20 aerospace companies in the greater Los Angeles area alone and I just started my new job at JPL. I quickly learned that “The Industry” referred to the entertainment industry (film, television, etc.) since we are very close to Hollywood and it’s quite common to come across someone who works in this field. Hence the frequent question when meeting new people around Los Angeles.   

8.5 Years and Two Mars Rovers

Me and Two Mars-Bound Rovers on the ETL Large Shaker at JPL, 8.5 Years Apart

In February 2011, I started my career at JPL as a Systems Integration and Test Engineer. I was hired into the Environmental Test Lab (ETL), which is the group that manages and operates the facilities that simulate the various mission environments and test our flight hardware to ensure it will survive the extreme conditions of space. For example, ETL uses shakers and acoustic chambers to simulate the rocket launch and thermal vacuum chambers to simulate the temperatures and vacuum of space and other planets.

Welcome to Statham.Space!

I am an aerospace engineer working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. This site is to share my adventures working on space missions and space applications – the good, the bad, and the explosive! I also plan to share details of my outreach activities to encourage others to pursue their interests in aerospace and other STEM fields.