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

From Colombia to the Moon: Diana Trujillo is one of NASA’s newest flight directors

Trujillo will lead the upcoming human spaceflight missions from the Johnson Space Center in Houston

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released the inductees in the class of 2022. Their seven new additions will perform as flight directors and oversee operations of the International Space Station, commercial crew, and Artemis missions to the Moon.

Among the selectee is Diana Trujillo, a Cali, Colombia native with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland in College Park.

Diana Trujillo©NASA
Diana Trujillo is one of NASA’s newest flight directors

Trujillo also studied at the University of Florida and graduated from Miami-Dade College in Florida and the NASA Academy at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. In addition to Diana, NASA’s newest team includes Heidi Brewer, Ronak Dave, Chris Dobbins, Garrett Hehn, Nicole McElroy, and Elias Myrmo.

According to the independent agency of the U.S. federal government, now that the seven members have completed a “comprehensive training program that includes operational leadership and risk management, as well as the technical aspects of flight control and spacecraft systems,” now they will lead the upcoming human spaceflight missions from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

They will lead the flight controllers and act as the research and engineering experts. They will also support personnel worldwide, making the real-time decisions critical to keeping NASA astronauts safe in space.

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

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

NASA informed that their new flight directors are preparing for lunar missions for NASA’s Artemis program. 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.

“I am honored to welcome the flight director class of 2022. This diverse group brings with them an impressive body of experience flying the space station, launching rockets, driving Mars rovers, and developing interplanetary missions,” said acting NASA Chief Flight Director Emily Nelson. “These flight directors and the experience they bring with them will be critical in humanity’s return to the Moon and future exploration of Mars. I’m proud to have them join our team.”

The agency said that becoming a NASA flight director requires years of study and dedication and outstanding management of high-stress since they are needed to react in a fast-paced decision-making environment.

Hispanicize #LatinasRepresent Lifestyle Special Edition©GettyImages
In this screengrab, Diana Trujillo participates in Hispanicize #LatinasRepresent Lifestyle Special Edition virtual event on April 21, 2021 online.

Ahead of her new role, Diana Trujillo served as the Integrated Planning and Sequencing for Surface Missions Group Supervisor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. In that role, she supported mission operations for NASA’s ongoing exploration missions on Mars’s surface and the planned Mars Sample Return mission.

Trujillo also served as a mission lead for the Mars Perseverance rover. She was responsible for the rover’s tactical command team and the team that analyzed the rover’s telemetry to determine its health and state.

For Diana, wearing multiple hats or adding skills to her resume isn’t new. She also served as a surface flight director during the early surface operations of the Mars Perseverance rover, including rover commissioning and deploying Ingenuity, the first helicopter to operate on another planet; and worked as the operations deputy team chief for the Mars Curiosity mission.

For being an Orgullo Latino, in 2021, she received the Cruz de Boyacá, the highest honor that the government of Colombia bestows upon civilians.

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