NASA program a gem in north central West Virginia

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — There is a NASA probe orbiting Mars right now, studying the Red Planet’s atmosphere and helping pave the way for sending manned missions by 2030.

It’s pretty cool stuff and what’s even cooler is that the NASA Independent Verification and Validation program, based in Fairmont’s I-79 Technology Park, played a role in the the mission’s success.

The people at the IV&V facility helped to monitor the MAVEN flight from the beginning to make sure there were no problems with the space vehicle’s software.

The trickiest part was making sure MAVEN got into the proper orbit.

“You’re really at the mercy of the software at that point. You’re getting into some really complex control logic to orient the spacecraft at the right altitude and to try to slow it down so it hits the orbit,” said Charlie Broadwater, the IV&V project manager. “If you miss the orbit capture, you oftentimes don’t get another chance.”

But everything went according to plan and NASA and the talented people in Fairmont have reason to celebrate…


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