Interview with Dee Terry, Operations Chief, JPL
What is your role for the Deep Space Network?
To provide the overall network control, monitor, and analysis of the real-time tracking operations and maintain continuous voice and data contact with each DSN complex.
What excites you most about your job?
Working with the different projects to discover all the dimensions of the universe
What do you find are some of the challenges that accompany your job?
The only challenges I have are the long work hours and the phone calls I receive after work hours for various outages in the network.
Was thing something you always wanted to do?
As a child I participated in class activities that involved the solar systems. I also wondered what was up in the heavens and now I am learning new discoveries everyday.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy working with my team and the different people in the NASA program. The people here are just a vast of knowledge.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in doing what you do?
I would encourage people to remain curious about the planet and beyond. Hubble spacecraft has taught us so much about our universe it is important they we maintain facilities such as JPL to continue our exploration in space.
This seems like a very unique job. Are there many women (or people in general) who do what you do?
When I first started in 1986 it was very few women. Today I would say that it is close to equal.
What's the most exciting experience to date that you've had in your position?
The Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity), when they landed on Mars in January 2004 was defiantly the most exciting day of my career. This mission was originally for 90 days and they are still alive and sending data.
How has working on this program changed your life?
I have learned so much out the possibilities of the unknown.
You mentioned that you are second generation working with the DSN - can you tell us more about that?
My brother was hired from the Air Force to work with NASA. He was the first African American Comm Chief that worked for the DSN at JPL. He would thrill our family with new space discoveries. It was through him that I was hired in March of 1986 as a comm. tech for JPL comm.