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Out of this World
Julie Maxey-Allison | 10th Street

Dr. Susan Kurtik. Photo Bill Morris.
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November’s DMFTalk speaker, Dr. Susan Kurtik, took the audience on an outer space voyage as she described her various job experiences. During her extraordinary career she worked for Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) deep space missions, including Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, various Asteroid and Comet Missions, and the Mars orbiter and lander missions for 26 years before retiring.

During those years she managed telecommunications service support for missions using NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), including NASA missions and missions with our international partners, European Space Agency (ESA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Indian Space Research Organization. She was part of a team of engineers and scientists involved in space exploration around the world. She witnessed first hand all mission critical events in the JPL Deep Space Operations Center. Her most recent involvement included support for landing the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars, helping ESA land on a comet, and helping India reach Mars on their first mission to the red planet. She currently uses her position as a Solar System Ambassador to inspire people, young and adult, with the wonder, excitement, challenges and joy of deep space exploration. Dr. Kurtik holds an MS degree in Physical Chemistry from UC Los Angeles and a PhD in Computer Science from UC Santa Barbara.


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