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MiMi Aung is a project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, where she is leading the project to develop a Mars helicopter technology demonstration. Since joining JPL in 1990 she has performed various roles in multiple disciplines on space flight and Deep Space Network (DSN) projects, technology development, and line management. She is passionate about space exploration, especially to advance the autonomous capability of spacecraft exploring deep space.
She started in the DSN development of its first operational digital receiver system, the Block V Receiver. She developed, analyzed, and tested receiver algorithms, and continued work through implementation to operationalization at all three DSN complexes across the globe. She then led a multidisciplinary team to evaluate the applicability of the monopulse technique for precise pointing of the 34-meter-diameter antennas, leading to operational use in the DSN. She next worked on the Earth Orbiting System Microwave Limb Sounder instrument as a cognizant engineer for the 240 GHz radiometer.
In 2000 she became project element manager for the autonomous formation flying sensor on the StarLight two-spacecraft interferometer mission, where she applied her knowledge of transmit/receive systems to the determination of interspacecraft range and bearing measurement for precise formation flying of multiple spacecraft. She went on to become the project element manager for formation flying on the Terrestrial Planet Finder project.
In 2003 she took on the additional duty of technical group supervisor, a line management position, for the Guidance, Navigation & Control (GN&C) Sensors Group, where she was involved in next-generation sensor technologies required for future spaceflight missions. Her technical interest expanded to next-generation GN&C capabilities for increasingly autonomous space exploration. In 2010 she became manager of the Guidance and Control Section, where she emphasized the development of advanced GN&C technologies and their infusion in future missions for precision entry, descent, and landing on planetary surfaces; proximity operations about small bodies; multispacecraft precision formation flying; and precision pointing of spacecraft. In 2013 she became deputy manager of the Autonomous Systems Division responsible for spacecraft GN&C, power, avionics, flight software, and robotics. Since 2015 she has been the lead for Mars Helicopter technology demonstration development.
Ms. Aung earned her BS (1988) and MS (1990) in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her MS thesis was in the area of signal processing and communications.