At Red Canyon, passion for aerospace surrounds us, and it could not shine brighter than one of our female engineers, Caroline Chouinard.
The infinite sky was love at first sight for Caroline Chouinard when she saw her first meteor shower as a child. In 2001, she began her own “Space Odyssey” as part of the AI Group at Caltech/NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It’s hard to imagine life now without GPS devices and Google Maps and self-driving cars, and even a time when a constant, robotic presence on Mars did not exist, and instead our years were filled with long bouts of silence from the surface of the red planet. Back in the time before smart
phones and smart vacuums, just 20 years ago in the early 2000s, Caroline was creating the decision-making “smarts” for self-driving rovers for future missions. She briefly had a Palm Pilot. Seriously. It was cutting-edge. The future happened and is now both past and present. In 2007, Caroline was part of an extraordinary DARPA-funded technology demonstration of the world’s first successful autonomous rendezvous and docking, AND hardware transfer, AND refueling: in Earth orbit. Orbital Express, which she likes to describe as “James Bond or Austin Powers, you take your pick: where the big spacecraft eats the little spacecraft,” basically sent a “tow-truck” in space and serviced a satellite “in-need” but also paved the way for an idea of bringing items that are in orbit, to the ISS, and back to the ground with astronauts. A future Mars Sample Return? It may happen soon…Caroline loves building AI Planning systems and solutions, yet seldom has an opportunity. This incredible area of Computer Science is not yet tapped, but the potential for smart robotics and systems is enormous. Come chat with her about the future. We can create an even more perfect world.
While our engineers continue to kick ass and be at the forefront of space exploration, we will continue to give them a platform to explore other planets and improve our own!
Woman in Aerospace Website