Q&A with Gateway: Meet Evgeny Menkin, Lead Integration Engineer of the Systems Engineering and Integration Office
The Gateway, a multipurpose outpost orbiting the Moon and vital part of NASA’s Artemis program, is built with sound engineering and operational principles that will serve as a staging point for deep space exploration and model for future missions to Mars. As the lead integration engineer of the Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) Office for the Gateway program, NASA Johnson Space Center-based Evgeny Menkin is responsible for developing Gateway satellite deploy guidelines and attitude constraints, as well as co-chairing the program’s refueling working group, which is responsible for coordinating activities between all stakeholders and ensuring that both chemical and electrical propulsion systems can be resupplied with propellant. By identifying and developing these guidelines and attitude constraints, Menkin’s role in the SE&I office ensures the safety of the Gateway and payload mission success.
Keep reading to learn more about Evgeny Menkin, below!
What are you most excited to share about Gateway and what it will do for human exploration as part of the Artemis program?
The Gateway is going to be exposed to completely new environments compared with those of the International Space Station. With exposure to lunar surface environments, one of the biggest challenges this program will face is ensuring crew safety and mission success.
How has your personal background influenced your work in the Gateway program?
Prior to joining the Gateway SE&I office, I spent 16 years supporting the space station’s Vehicle Integrated Performance, Environments and Resources team. For the past 13 years with space station, I managed, directed, and coordinated activities for a diverse team of scientists and engineers responsible for various areas of spaceflight, including: visiting vehicle engineering integration, external and internal payload integration, robotics hardware and software integration, vehicle internal and external configuration modeling, vehicle integrated performance, environments and resources, guidance navigation and control, power, consumables, trajectory, altitude and propellant management, cargo integration and manifesting, and cargo certification.
My previous background helps me understand the challenges of the Gateway program and contribute to SE&I goals.
What has been your favorite memory while working at NASA?
My favorite memory was seeing the first space station element, which I had worked on for several years, fly in space and successfully reach its intended orbit. I am really looking forward to seeing the first Gateway element launch and placed in orbit.
Being surrounded by such a high-performing group of people, what’s a great piece of advice you’ve learned?
Ever since I joined the Gateway program, it feels like I’m jumping off a train that’s moving at a hundred miles an hour. So, I am trying to hold on and contribute as much as I can to team goals and the Gateway program in general.
In line with JSC’s DARE | UNITE | EXPLORE, how do you see yourself fitting into the vision?
· DARE to come up with new ideas and innovations.
· UNITE teams through comprehensive communication.
· Don’t hesitate to EXPLORE new horizons.
More about you:
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia.
If you could temporarily live (or visit) in another part of the world, where would that be?
I love Houston and I love Texas. I was not born in the United States, but got here as soon as I possibly could! As for another part of the world, I may be interested in visiting Japan, but not living there.
How long have you been at JSC?
I have been at Johnson since June 2001, but have supported the Moscow Technical Liaison Office since 1994.
Describe yourself in five words:
Innovative, polite, funny, stubborn, and caring.
Favorite thing(s) to do to unwind:
Windsurf and run with my dog.
How has the pandemic shaped your work style?
Since there are fewer distractions at my home office, working remote has improved my productivity. Since joining the Gateway program, I have become more efficient by learning more about the program.
Name one thing we would be surprised to learn about you.
Perhaps that I am still fluent in Russian after all these years. ;-)