This is what Michael Staab literally lives for.
“After all the stress and anxiety of getting through the event and then you see the images,” says Staab. “It is just a weight off your shoulders.”
Staab is a Wichita native who graduated from Maize High School and Wichita State University. Now, he is an Assistant Engineer and Flight Director for NASA, at the Jet Propulsion Center in California. Monday was a vicarious moment of the sorts for him.
“It doesn’t happen very often, and we know the amount of work and amount of stress they go through,” he says.
He is a flight director for the rover on Mars called “Opportunity”, which went silent due to a dust storm in June of 2017. He also worked for the rover Cassini which studied Saturn. Monday his job was to sit back and enjoy the show.
“You are basically just along for the ride watching the data and hoping everything goes right,” he says.
After a seven month journey through space and having to go from more than 12,000 miles per hour to five miles an hour in just minutes, Insight landed.
“It was successful,” he says.
What makes the moment so special for Staab, is seeing another team at the jet propulsion center where he works, celebrate after dedicating years to making this a reality.
“There is a lot of tension. Imagine 7-8 years of work leading up to six and a half minutes and there is nothing you can do,” he says.