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Photo of Dave Gingerich Dave Gingerich became an employee of Lockheed Martin in December 1980 after finishing his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University and for the next seven years he developed simulation software used to test the power and attitude control subsystems for two large, earth-orbiting spacecraft.

In 1987, he made a switch to developing spacecraft bus and instrument flight software for numerous planetary exploration missions and payloads. For example, Dave was a member of the small team that developed the instrument flight software for the Descent Imager and Spectral Radiometer on the Cassini-Huygens Probe and prior to that assignment he was the flight software lead engineer for the Mars Observer Gamma Ray Spectrometer. In the early 1990s he was a member of the flight software development team for the marvelously successful and still flying Mars Global Surveyor.

One of the toughest assignments Dave has had during his career was a robot development effort in 1996 that created a small, autonomous vehicle about the size of an office desk capable of navigating rows of 55-gallon drums of radioactive waste stacked 4-high while scanning their sides for early indications of a potential leak. This culminated in an extended, on-site demonstration at a former nuclear weapons production facility in Ohio where the team worked for seven weeks in June and July without air-conditioning inside a low-level, waste storage facility that closely resembled a circus tent longer than a football field. During a thunderstorm, rain and hail on the taut skin of the tent made working there like working inside of a snare drum and all conversation among the engineering crew had to cease until the storm abated.

In 1997, Dave moved on and spent the next four years developing the payload and science flight software for the Stardust and Genesis missions. Due to his "inception to integration" success with the payload software on these two sample return missions, Dave was asked to join the LMA Mission Operations team and continue his involvement with the Genesis and Stardust science and payload subsystems until each mission returns to the Utah desert. In 2002 he implemented a change to the Stardust Navigation Camera flight software that was successfully demonstrated during Stardust's encounter with asteroid Annefrank in November and for which he was presented a Technical Excellence award from Lockheed Martin at Honors Night in April 2003. He is also the recipient of several NASA Group Achievement awards.

Dave earned a B.S. in Mathematics in 1979 from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington and will complete his second Masters degree next spring in Space Operations Management from Webster University. He grew up in Western Oregon and although he enjoys mountain biking, hiking and skiing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, he still misses the beautiful Oregon coastline after living in Colorado for 24 years.


Last updated November 26, 2003
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