Benny Prats is an aerospace engineer by training and planetary research engineer by trade employed by eINFORMe Inc at NASA GSFC in the Planetary Environments Laboratory. His primary engineering interests are design, repair, test, operation, and analysis of electromechanical and thermal systems for quadra-pole mass spectrometers (QMS), gas processing systems (GPS), micro valves, miniature pyrolysis ovens, miniature turbo wide-range-pumps (WRP), linear ion trap (LIT) mass spectrometers, tunable laser spectrometers (TLS), sample manipulation systems (SMS), and gas chromatograph (GC) instruments. He analyzes scientific and engineering data to assure proper instrument operation and longevity and correct interpretation of results from labs on earth, spacecraft and rovers in space, Mars, Moon, and beyond.
Mars Organic Molecular Analysis (MOMA) on ESA Rosalind Franklin Rover (previously known as ExoMars) Laser Desorption Mass Spectrometer and Gas Chromatograph
Benny Prats has been a member of MOMA electrical and data-analysis teams since 2013 responsible for electrical system design and bench-testing prior to and after integration into flight, testbed, and engineering models. He is responsible for writing and executing multiple procedures, work orders and drawings at GSFC, University of Michigan Space Physics Research Lab, and Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research Electronics Laboratory. As a member of the data-analysis team he continues to update software tools and analyze data during integration, rover-level testing, and periodic checkouts while in storage waiting for 2028 launch to Mars.
Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) - Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover Pre-launch Team Member
Benny Prats joined the SAM team four years before launch assuring proper design, fabrication, integration, test, and operation of all systems. He selected heaters for gas transfer pipes and manifolds and thoroughly tested in Mars environments early in the program resulting in a request to JPL/Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) for two additional (SAM Bus 4 and 5) electrical circuits. Four years of continuous testing by Benny Prats and the SAM team for all SAM components, QMS, GPS, WRP, TLS and GC, before and after integration, resulted in numerous anomaly identifications, replacements, modifications, and repairs before launch. All components continue to operate on Mars nearly 11 years after landing with successful identification of organics on Mars.
Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS)
The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Mission was designed to characterize the source region for escaping atoms in the upper atmosphere and ionosphere of Mars. Benny Prats was responsible for electrical system design, modeling, and bench-testing prior to and after integration into flight and testbed models. And he performed in-orbit analysis to assure properly functioning electrical and science systems.
Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS)
Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Mission Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS) (electrical systems design, modeling, testing, and integration). James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) (cryogenic thermal design, modeling fabrication and testing). Hubble Space Telescope (HST) (thermal systems for servicing missions 3A and 3B including flight console to provide space shuttle attitude control), TIROS, DMSP Weather Satellites (thermal system testing and anomaly investigations), Space Shuttle (Mach 10 and 14 wind tunnel testing at AEDC Hypervelocity Tunnel 9). Also, DRAMS, SEAL, LEMS, LRO/LOLA, Landsat 6/7, DSCS, MilStar, D2, SDI, A10 Trainer, Ford, and Chrysler Automobile Wind Tunnel Testing.
Senior Electromechanical Systems Engineer
NASA/eINFORMe Inc, Planetary Environment Laboratory - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD
August 2007 - Present
SAM Payload Downlink (from Mars) Lead, SAM Testbed Refurbishment and Operations (on Earth), DRAMS, SEAL, LEMS, MOMA, MAVEN, LADEE, JWST, LRO/LOLA thermal, electrical systems.
Senior Systems Engineer
Fairchild/eINFORMe Inc - Frederick, MD
September 2003 - August 2007
Responsible for Systems Engineering of Airbus A380 Supplemental Avionics Cooling Systems
Program Manager/ Senior Systems Engineer,
Lockheed Martin, Martin Marietta, GE Aerospace - Philadelphia, Valley Forge PA, Sunnyvale CA
April 1990 - September 2003
Completed Lockheed Martin Systems Engineering Training, Communication Satellites, International Space Station Thermal Systems, Cassini Re-entry, D2, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Missile Design and Testing
AAI Corporation - Baltimore, MD
June 1986 - April 1990
Uninhabited Air Vehicle (UAV) design and fabrication, DARPA projects, Working with AAI President Irwin Barr
Hypervelocity Wind Tunnel Test Engineer - GS-9
Naval Surface Weapons Center - Silver Spring, MD
July 1980 - June 1986
Lead for Mach 10, 14, 20 testing of Missiles and Space Shuttle Projects. Plan tests, design nozzles, instrument, calibrate flow and computational fluid mechanics modeling.
Maryland Government Classified Employee - Large Subsonic Wind Tunnel Operations – University of Maryland - College Park, MD
February 1976 - June 1980
A10 Trainer, Ford/ Chrysler Automobile, Buildings Subsonic Wind Tunnel Testing.
2017 - Present
1972 - Present