Daniel Helfrich

Mechanical Systems Engineer with NASA Goddard - Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Space Flight Center

In my position in the Landsat 9 Project, there’s every “opportunity” to travel to our satellite and sensor contractor facilities for design reviews, test readiness reviews, tests, and the like. Many of my cohorts enjoy the time away and the accumulation of frequent flyer mileage and overnight hotel stays. It is a challenge to stay back in the home office and participate via low-res video conference or worse. But I do, and probably halve my professional carbon footprint by doing so. I also purchase carbon offsets annually to offset my unavoidable air travel emissions; it’s not ideal but I can afford it and it’s a reminder to travel less in the coming year.

Deployable structures and appendages such as high gain antenna booms and solar array wings are a specialty of mine, but mostly my work requires a broad understanding of mechanical design and the vulnerabilities of spacecraft structures, mechanical assemblies, etc. to ground test and launch environments.