Day 19 as a NASA JPL intern on the Psyche mission

Joan Marie
2 min readJun 24, 2021

My partner made fun of me today for not knowing how rocket propulsion works even though I work at the Jet Propulsion Lab. And at first I was upset but then I realized….why don’t I know this? But then I realized that if I want to be an astronaut….I should know at least the basics of it.

Wow I’m continuing this from last night because I was so tired and decided to go to sleep.

The basics of it is rocket shoots fuel on one end and propels the rocket forward. I honestly don’t think I need to know the nitty gritty of it…Or at least right now but I’ll make a blog post explaining that soon hopefully. Early in the morning I had a meeting with with the team from MIT who made the magnetometer for Psyche and I got to see how their data parser parsed the results coming from the magnetometer and it actually looked right…I’m still working on fixing the code I currently have but right now it’s just going to be used as a double checker for the ATLO run that will be happening over the weekend.

In the afternoon, I got to see one of our testbed engineers present her final procedure for testing the magnetometers to her approvers before she basically sends it over to final. It covered the requirements she got to test and I found it super interesting. Someday I hope to be making, testing, and presenting my own procedures too!

I hear the words PFR and DPFR being thrown around during meetings. And I figured out that PFR which stands for a Performance Failure Report is basically a step up from a DPFR which stands for Developmental Failure Report. So basically a DPFR is a baby PFR and only offiically becomes a PFR if its still a problem before it reaches ATLO. Im not sure if that’s the completely correct explanation.

I also found out that not all the tests we do for the testbed gets passed on to ATLO so they can test it. In fact there’s tests just specificially meant to be run in the testbeds and some in ATLO and even some in CMDH that we don’t really know about. Each venue has specific tests to run before a rocket is ready for launch. So I thought that was pretty neat.

Most of the day was spent reviewing my notes since Im getting ready for a full transition on Friday. EEP.



Joan Marie

Help. I’m trying to become a better coder/engineer