Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Great Federal Employees Initiative

Honoree for Week of September 14, 2009

Orlando Figueroa

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project

When Orlando Figueroa took charge of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover project, in 2001, he set out to restore optimism and excitement after a string of setbacks. Less than three years later, under Orlando’s leadership, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover project successfully landed some of the most advanced technology ever created onto the Martian surface. He pushed his team to look forward, not backward, and Orlando’s leadership was critical as the team faced challenges in advance of a rapidly-approaching launch date. The Mars Exploration Rovers — called Spirit and Opportunity — successfully landed on opposite ends of Mars in January 2004 after a six-month journey. Together, they traversed several miles of the planet’s surface and captured over 100,000 high resolution photographs for use by scientists studying the Martian climate and soil. The tests conducted by Spirit and Opportunity have brought our researchers closer to finding evidence of water — and possibly past life — on our neighboring planet.

Read Senator Kaufman's full remarks on Orlando Figueroa HERE

100 Great Federal Employees
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