Dawn Project Manager Robert Mase (left) and Mission Director Marc Rayman (center) accept a 2017 Team Stellar Award from NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren (right) on behalf of the JPL Dawn Flight Team from the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation in Houston on April 28, 2017. Credit: NASA

As any sailor knows, steering a sailboat through ever-changing weather conditions is demanding, yet exhilarating. For Robert Mase, who was Dawn Project Manager, the challenge of managing the many facets of a spacecraft whose trajectory is constantly changing is similarly exciting.

A Florida native, Mase’s lifelong interest in math and science led him to Purdue University’s Aerospace Engineering program, where he earned a master’s degree.

Mase, whose specialty is in guidance, navigation, and control, previously worked as the Mission Manager for the Mars Odyssey project, and has contributed to all of the recent Mars missions and several Discovery missions, including Stardust, Genesis and Deep Impact.

Mase took over the Dawn project from Keyur Patel, who moved on to a new position.