JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence



Laura Sakamoto

Laura Sakamoto received a B.S. degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1987, with a major in engineering and applied science. Before graduation, she spent a summer writing a paper with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Telecommunications Division's chief technologist. After graduation, she joined JPL's Communications Systems and Research Section's Flight Communications Systems Group.

Laura got her start in flight operations development on the Magellan mission to Venus, later transitioning to operations. She was primarily responsible for the link database maintenance and link prediction generation, doing long-distance support of telecommunications analysts at Martin Marietta in Denver (now Lockheed Martin). She went on to be the lead telecommunications analyst of a team of two for the Mars Observer mission. When that mission ended, Laura joined the team of telecommunications analysts on the Galileo mission, where she was responsible for the upgrade of the link database for the S-band low-gain mission and the smooth transition to the new real-time-monitoring software system. In her spare time, she began supporting the development of the Cassini mission to Saturn. She later transitioned to full-time and eventually become the lead and occasionally the only telecommunications analyst.

Having safely shepherded Cassini through two Venus flybys, an Earth flyby, and a major science campaign of Jupiter, Laura joined the Flight Engineering Group in the Flight Systems Section in late 2001, still in support of the Cassini mission.

Co-Author of the following article of the DESCANSO Design & Performance Summary Series - Telecommunications: