Computer Sciences Corporation

My Career at CSC

John J. Boia

Computer Scientist


When I first started working for CSC in 1989, little did I realize that I was beginning, not just a job, but a career in software development. I was given the opportunity to work on several major NASA space missions, mainly the Hubble Space Telescope and the Landsat-7 spacecraft. I learned an enormous amount about software, computers, and space missions. I was able to put into practical use much of the physics and mathematics knowledge that I acquired in college. My starting grade was "Associate Member of Technical Staff", or AMTS -- pretty much an entry-level, bottom-of-the-totem-pole position. I rose through the ranks over time to the senior-level position of "Computer Scientist", or CS. Here is a brief summary of the kind of work I performed as a "CSC'er."

[HST] I am tremendously proud to have been a member of the software development team supporting the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center.

From 05 Jun 1989, when I became an employee of CSC, until August 1995, I worked on the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC) Applications Software Support (PASS) system, a major component of the original HST ground system.  I was a developer and, eventually, a task leader for the Attitude Determination/Sensor Calibration (ADSC) and Spacecraft Subsystem Monitoring (SSM) subsystems. My office was on the fifth floor of the CSC office building in Laurel, MD. The PASS software was developed in VMS Fortran on a cluster of VAXen. My area of specialty was gyroscope calibration, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to support the HST launch mission (STS-31) in April 1990, as well as the First (STS-61) and Second (STS-82) HST Servicing Missions in 1993 and 1997, respectively.

From August 1995 through February 1997, I worked on the Vision 2000 Control Center System (CCS), a modernized, re-engineered ground system for HST.  I was a member of the System Monitoring team, which developed an object-oriented, client-server application to generate plots and tabular reports of HST telemetry data. The software was written in C++ and PV-WAVE on a mix of Silicon Graphics workstations running the IRIX operating system. My office was in the "Vision 2000 Co-Location Facility," a suite in Lanham, MD, rented by Lockheed-Martin expressly for the purpose of housing the CCS development team.

After working for nearly eight years on Hubble, I decided to try something new and different. In late 1996, word was out that CSC was staffing up the ground system development team for a new Earth-observing satellite: Landsat-7.

[L7] From 03 March 1997 until the project officially ended on 30 Sep 1999, I worked on the Algorithm Implementation Team (AIT) for the Landsat-7 Image Assessment System (IAS). We developed the radiometric processing subsystem (RPS) that identifies and corrects image artifacts (L1R). Programming was done in C and IDL on a Silicon Graphics Challenge server running IRIX 6.2. We also used ENVI to analyze our test image data. Additionally, I served as the configuration manager and webmaestro for the AIT. My office was located in the north wing of the main CSC Greentec IV office building on Hubble Drive in Lanham-Seabrook, MD, about one mile east of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. More recent images are available at the Landsat-7 Page (USGS).

From 23 Aug 1999 until 28 Jan 2000, I worked on the Mission Operations Planning and Scheduling System (MOPSS) project, learning CORBA and doing C++ programming on SGI and HP platforms. This project supports the HST Vision 2000 CCS team as well as a number of other satellite missions. My office was located in the south wing of the CSC Greentec IV building.

My last day as an employee of CSC was 28 Jan 2000. I left the company after ten-and-one-half years of service to pursue a new opportunity as an employee of the Space Telescope Science Institute. Working for CSC was a wonderful experience. I am grateful for the many challenges and opportunities I had, as well as for the friends and colleagues that taught me so much over the years. I wish continued success to the entire CSC team and all their endeavours.

Last updated: 13 April 2000.