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Meet: Leonard Hee

photo of leonard hee

NASA Ames Research Center

Who I Am and What I Do
I am Leonard Hee and I work in the System Safety and Mission Assurance (S&MA) Organization at NASA.
  • As the LCROSS S&MA Manager, I’m responsible for the project meeting all NASA safety, space hardware workmanship, and mission requirements. I participate in all phases of the project from design and specifications to acceptance testing and launch. I provide an independent oversight that checks the project process is valid and verifiable to NASA requirements. I tailor some requirements to the mission and project requirements. I approve test plans, witness testing and participate in design and test reviews. I document safety and hardware issues and all actions taken to resolve them.
  • I am the Electro-Static Discharge and solder instructor for Ames. I represent Ames on the NASA Workmanship Group for NASA Standards.

Areas of expertise

  • Electronics Engineer in designing flight and space electronics, fabricating, testing and troubleshooting
  • Safety Engineer in verifying Ames facilities and medical hardware to meet electrical and medical safety standards
  • Resident expert for space hardware workmanship

What I like about my job

  • Using all your skills to meet the challenging projects that have never been done before
  • Thinking out of the box and adapting to complete task
  • The feeling of accomplishment and pride when your work is successful
  • Building and testing hardware is a major part of NASA projects, but the payoff is getting good data for science and engineering analysis

What I don't like about my job

  • The problem is having to wait months or years to find out if your project was successful.
  • You have to be able to wear many hats at the same time and be able to multitask.

What helped prepare me for this job
When I was 12 yrs. old, I built a crystal radio set. I was really interested in how it worked. What started as a hobby turned into a goal. As I grew up I took sheet metal shop, machine shop, wood working, and welding classes. The hands on experience prepares you to get organized for what is needed before you start your project. You plan what tools and materials you need. By doing work in different areas, you can find what you like and dislike doing. This will help guide you in choosing your career.

Work experience:

  • At NASA Ames Research Center
    • S&MA Manager for LCROSS (present)
    • Avionic Mission Assurance Engineer for Kepler Project
    • Mission Assurance Manager for Space Station Biological Research Facility
    • Electronic Engineer for Space Shuttle Flight Deck Avionic Upgrades and Integrated Vehicle Health Management Systems (for new space and flight vehicles)
    • Branch Chief for flight instrumentation engineering
    • Lead Flight Instrumentation Systems Engineer for XV-14 Tilt Rotor, SH-3A and UH-60s Blackhawk rotorcraft, and DHC-6 Twin Otter, Cessna and Learjet research aircraft
    • Manager for B-727 Man Vehicle Systems Flight Simulator
    • Electronic Engineer for 40X80 and 80X120 wind tunnels
    • Electronics Engineer for Vertical Motion Simulator Facility
  • Electronic Engineer for NASA Flight Research Center-designing advanced digital flight data acquisition systems for research aircraft and X-planes
  • Computer field engineer for IBM-troubleshooting and installing upgrades to mainframe computer systems

My education and training

  • Commissioned in the U.S.Army as an Ordnance Officer
  • Cal Poly as an Electronic Engineer (BSEE)
  • City College of San Francisco as an Electronic Engineering Technician (AA)

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