Ghanaian engineer behind NASA’s latest spacecraft project

Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu is the chief engineer of a team formed to design robots for NASA missions at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States.

Trebi-Ollennu not only worked on the Phoenix aircraft that found water on Mars in 2008 but also contributed to the Mars Exploration Rover project in 2003 and the Mars Science Laboratory in 2011.

He also designed the robotic arm, which will dig deep beneath the surface of the planet to see explore how it was formed.

Trebi-Ollennu’s interest in space craft developed when he was growing up in Ghana.

Born in Ghana, Trebi-Ollennu attended a primary school in Burma Camp and later the Ghana Secondary Technical School. He earned his bachelor of Engineering in avionics at the Queen Mary College, the University of London in 1991. He continued his education at the Royal Military College Science located at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, earning his PhD in 1996.

At Carnegie Mellon University where he was a research scholar, he formulated a system for All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) for distributed tactical surveillance for (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) DARPA.

Trebi-Ollennu is a fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, U. K., and the Royal Aeronautical Society, U.K. and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.


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