Dr. Jeanette Domber
STORRM Program Manager Profile
After joining Ball Aerospace in 2005, Domber led the Ball team tasked with designing the hardware for the repair of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph electronics aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), successfully installed during STS-125 in May of 2009. Before working on HST, she was the lead structural analyst for an instrument to be flown aboard one of the nation's weather satellite systems.
Domber received her Ph.D. in 2004 and her M.S. in 2000 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her BS in 1995 is from Case Western Reserve University. She is an active member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Structures Technical Committee.
What does it mean to be the lead for STORRM?
My main responsibility was ensuring that working hardware was delivered on-time. I did this by coordinating the team that designed, built, and tested the Sensor Enclosure Assembly for STORRM.
What’s the most interesting thing about this mission?
Since the STORRM hardware was installed into Endeavour’s payload bay while she was in the Orbiter Processing Facility, we got to spend a lot of up-close time with the vehicle, including opportunities to sit on the flight deck. In the process, we met a lot of the people that shepherded the vehicle through processing and who shared their stories with us. There are a lot people who take great pride in making the shuttle program possible.
What is the key technology of STORRM?
The entire sensor suite is the first of its kind, but VNS is the key technology. The top priority of the STORRM mission is to demonstrate that we can acquire a range estimate to the station at 5 km. We will then track in all the way to six feet, something that’s never been done with a single sensor before.
What were the challenges?
The shortened time schedule was the biggest challenge. We had about 18 months, half the normal amount of time, to develop two new sensors, build them, prove they could work, and deliver them.
What’s been your favorite part about working on STORRM?
Knowing I have hardware in space.
How did you end up in the aerospace industry?
It’s my Mom’s fault. She made me watch the first shuttle launch, introduced me to science fiction through Isaac Asimov, and told me to watch the first Star Wars movie. As I got older, I was fascinated by space and found a natural affinity for science and math in school, which led me into aerospace engineering.
What the best part of working at Ball Aerospace?
It may sound cliché, but the personnel at Ball Aerospace are incredible workers and good people to be around, which helps make it enjoyable to come to work each day. I also think the size of our company gives us the chance to work more intimately with the hardware, even on larger programs, and take real ownership of the programs we work on as engineers.
What was one of the most exciting moments in your career so far?
I have to say that working on the Hubble Servicing Mission 4 was a highlight. It was my first hardware that made it to space. It was my first time working directly with the astronauts. And, HST is just such a visible and important part of the space program. Most people have heard of HST and can visualize some of the amazing pictures it has taken. It was an honor to help continue HST’s legacy.
Who inspired you?
My parents encouraged me to succeed in school. I’ve also had several wonderful mentors over the years, including my PhD advisor, Lee Peterson, and my coworker now and from my PhD days, Lisa Hardaway.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like to enjoy the wonderful environment in and around Boulder, CO. I like to hike especially, but I also snowshoe in the winter. I still like to read a good science fiction novel, when I find one. I recently bought a house and hope to learn how to garden.
Tell us one thing we don’t know about Jeanette Domber?
I’ve visited the capital city in nearly all of the countries I’ve been to.