NASA Introduces the 2022 Flight Director Class – Check Out the 7 New Additions to the Team

Overview of the space station flight control room in Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control Center as flight controllers support rendezvous and docking operations of the Soyuz TMA spacecraft -04M. Credit: NASA

" data-gt-translate-attributes="[{" attribute="">Nasa selected seven new members of the flight director team to oversee International Space Station operations, commercial crew and Artemis missions to the Moon. Class of 2022 inductees include Heidi Brewer, Ronak Dave, Chris Dobbins, Garrett Hehn, Nicole McElroy, Elias Myrmo and Diana Trujillo.

Flight directors lead the flight control team. Flight has overall operational responsibility for missions and payload operations and all decisions regarding safe and expeditious flight. This person watches the other flight controllers, remaining in constant verbal communication with them through intercom channels called “loops”.

After completing a comprehensive training program that includes operational leadership and risk management, as well as the technical aspects of flight control systems and spacecraft, these future flight directors will lead manned flight missions from the Center of mission control of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

In this role, these individuals will lead teams of flight controllers, research and engineering experts, and support personnel around the world, making the real-time decisions essential to keeping NASA astronauts safe in the world. ‘space.

“These highly skilled individuals will be responsible for ensuring the safety of astronauts and executing human spaceflight missions,” NASA Director of Flight Operations Norm Knight said. “There were many outstanding candidates, both within the agency and throughout the spaceflight industry, which is a great indication of the immense talent we have here at NASA and within the growing spaceflight community.”

NASA Flight Director Class of 2022

A photo of the 2022 class of NASA flight directors who will oversee operations for the International Space Station, commercial crew, and Artemis missions to the Moon. Inductees from left to right: Heidi Brewer, Ronak Dave, Garrett Hehn, Diana Trujillo, Elias Myrmo, Chris Dobbins, Nicole McElroy. Credit: NASA

NASA flight directors lead missions to the space station and prepare for lunar missions for NASA’s Artemis program. The total number of agency flight directors is now 108 since mission control center namesake Christopher C. Kraft Jr. became the agency’s first flight director in 1958. The new class will be at the forefront of everything humans do in space, following in the footsteps of Apollo-era flight directors including Glynn Lunney, Gene Kranz and Kraft.

Becoming a NASA Flight Director requires years of study and dedication, as well as work experience in a high-stress environment, requiring quick decision-making.

“I am honored to welcome the Flight Director Class of 2022. This diverse group brings with them an impressive experience piloting the space station, launching rockets, driving " data-gt-translate-attributes="[{" attribute="">March rovers and the development of interplanetary missions,” said NASA Acting Chief Flight Director Emily Nelson. “These flight directors and the experience they bring with them will be critical to humanity’s return to the Moon and future exploration of Mars. I am proud that they join our team.

Meet NASA’s newest class of flight directors:

Diana Trujillo

Diana Trujillo most recently served as Supervisor of the Integrated Planning and Sequencing Group for Surface Missions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. In this role, she supported mission operations for NASA’s ongoing exploration missions to the surface of Mars as well as the planned Mars sample return mission. Previously, she served as mission leader for the Mars Perseverance rover, where she was responsible for the rover’s tactical command team and the team that analyzed the rover’s telemetry to determine its health and condition. She was surface flight director during the first surface operations of the Mars Perseverance rover, including the commissioning of the rover and the deployment of Ingenuity, the first helicopter to operate on another planet. Previously, she was mission leader and deputy team leader of engineering operations for the Mars Curiosity mission.

Trujillo was born and raised in Cali, Colombia, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park, with additional studies at University of Florida in Gainesville. She is also a graduate of Miami-Dade College in Florida and the NASA Academy at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. In 2021, she received the Cruz de Boyacá, the highest honor the Colombian government gives to civilians.

Elias Myrmo

Elias Myrmo joined NASA in 2008 in the Mission Systems Division of the Flight Operations Directorate, working on Mission Control Center systems and information technology infrastructure. Myrmo became a specialist in the use of the onboard communication radio frequency network in 2010, logging over 2,000 console hours in support of International Space Station Expeditions 32-50. Since 2016, he has been head of the Exploration Flight Dynamics and Operations group, responsible for the training and certification of flight dynamic officers for Artemis missions. The group is also responsible for launch-day public protection through range security, as well as launch-day update operations for the agency’s Space Launch System rocket during Artemis missions.

Myrmo grew up in Naples, Florida and graduated from the University of Central Florida in Orlando with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Nicole (Lewis) McElroy

Nicole McElroy joins NASA’s Flight Director team from Virgin Orbit in Long Beach, California, where she worked as a launch director. McElroy began her work at Virgin Orbit as an intern, then returned full-time as a propulsion systems engineer to design the thruster and pressurizer management systems. She then qualified these systems for flight, directing the first and second stage test campaigns. McElroy eventually joined the launch operations team as the rocket systems operator for LauncherOne’s first two flights. She served as launch director for the third and fourth flights, where she was responsible for the entire launch operations schedule.

McElroy was born in England and raised in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. She is a graduate of the major of the Colombia University School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2015.

Garrett Hehn

Garrett Hehn began his NASA career in 2014 in the International Space Station’s Trajectory Operations Group and achieved Trajectory Operations Officer certification in 2016. In this role, he led Expedition 50, a SpaceX commercial space station resupply mission for NASA, development of Sierra Space Dream Chaser and Boeing’s Crew Flight Test. Hehn led a revamp of an agency training stream and has been an instructor for other trainees since earning certification as a trajectory operations officer. In 2018, he broadened his scope to become the Artemis II Senior Flight Dynamics Officer while maintaining his previous roles. Earlier this year, he earned his flight dynamics officer certification for Artemis I.

Hehn grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and minors in Math and Spanish.

Chris Dobbin

Chris Dobbins also started his career at NASA in 2011 in the Pathways Intern program. He began his full-time NASA career as the space station’s environmental and thermal operating systems flight controller in 2014, logging more than 2,500 hours of console time and serving as a leader for the space station. International Space Station Expedition 56 and several spacewalks. Later, he began supporting the Boeing Starliner spacecraft as a flight controller responsible for emergencies, environment, and consumables, working in mission control for the company’s uncrewed flight test for NASA. Most recently, he was responsible for ascent and entry for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test 2, while helping develop operational strategies and conduct astronaut training for the test mission in company manned flight, including manned vehicle emergency response procedures.

Dobbins is from Crystal Lake, Illinois and graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering.

Ronak Dave

Ronak Dave started his career at NASA in 2011 as part of the Pathways Intern program. After becoming a full-time NASA engineer, he began working with the International Space Station’s Motion Control Systems Group as an attitude determination and control officer. In this role, he logged over 1,000 mission control hours and supported a SpaceX commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA. He then moved to the Propulsion Systems Group to support the development and operations of Orion, Space Launch System and Boeing Starliner. He supported the Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test-1 mission as a propulsion officer. Most recently, he served as the ascent propulsion officer for the Boeing Starliner Orbit Flight Test-2 mission, supported astronaut training for the Boeing Starliner Crewed Flight Test, and served as the primary propulsion systems officer for SLS and propulsion officer for Orion for the Artemis I mission, while leading rocket operations as a surge systems engineer for Artemis II.

Dave grew up in Secaucus, New Jersey, and graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.

Heidi Brewer

Heidi Brewer began her career at NASA in 2006 in the Space Shuttle Instrumentation and Communications Officer group. In this role, she supported 19 shuttle missions and led the last shuttle flight, STS-135. When the shuttle program ended in 2011, Brewer moved to the space station systems and integration engineering group, where she worked as an operations and training integration specialist with SpaceX. She has supported more than 20 Dragon missions for NASA’s Commercial Resupply and Commercial Crew Services programs, serving as the lead for several SpaceX on-station resupply missions for NASA, and Axiom Mission 1, the first private astronaut mission to space station. Brewer has also served as the lead operations integrator for the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, the Common Communication for Visiting Vehicles ship-to-ship radio system, and most recently the Artemis Human Landing System.

Brewer grew up in Marietta, Georgia, earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in Atlanta in 2005, and holds a Master of Science in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Atlanta. Florida.

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