Fil-Am engineer part of the team behind NASA Perseverance rover’s successful landing on Mars

Published February 23, 2021, 9:28 AM

by Jaleen Ramos

Filipino-American engineer Gregorio Villar III is part of the team that is behind the successful landing of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Perseverance rover on Mars.

(Photo from the US Embassy in Manila/NASA Mars Exploration Program/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“As we celebrate the successful landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars, did you know that Fil-Am engineer Gregorio Villar III helped with its safe landing as the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Systems Engineer of the Mars 2020 mission?” the United States Embassy in Manila said in its official Twitter account on Friday.

The NASA Perseverance rover safely landed on Mars at 3:55 pm (Eastern Time) Feb. 18, 2021.

Villar works as an Entry Descent Landing (EDL) Systems engineer of Mars 2020 Mission and operations systems engineer in the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

He spent seven and a half years building and testing a system that would land a car-sized rover on Mars.

Villar also heads the verification and validation team for the EDL phase of the project.

He also directed a Mars parachute test campaign at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the world’s largest wind tunnel, as well as a council of atmospheric scientists to study the Martian atmosphere.

Villar, who’s parents are Filipino, studied at Saint Louis University – Laboratory High School in Baguio City.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona and his master’s degree in astronautical engineering from the University of Southern California.