Wednesday, April 25, 2018 – Testing Through Time And Space: NASA’s Twenty-Year Mission to Saturn

Speaker: Andrea Connell

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Topic: NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn launched in 1997, and orbited the ringed planet continuously for thirteen years until the mission ended in 2017. Throughout this time, the Mission Sequencing Subsystem team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed software used to design and validate the spacecraft’s science activities. As we learned more about the Saturn system and as the spacecraft aged, software changes were needed. Automating tests for software that was initially developed before modern architecture and testing methodologies existed posed many challenges. The limited-funding and risk-averse environment of a flagship planetary mission heightened these challenges. This talk will discuss the strategies taken and lessons learned from nearly two decades of flight.

Bio: Andrea Connell has held many roles in her ten-year technical career, including Software Developer, Database Administrator, Certified ScrumMaster, and Test Engineer. Andrea earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. She previously worked for Amazon.com, and is now a Software Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.