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What’s It Like to Work in NASA’s Mission Control Center?

What’s It Like to Work in NASA’s Mission Control Center?

At top is Chloe Mehring, a woman with shoulder-length brown hair, poses for a picture in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. She wears a black blazer, and her arms are crossed as she smiles. The words "Chloe Mehring" are underneath her arms. Behind her are several desks lining an aisle. On the desks are many computer screens. Large screens line the walls with the logos of NASA and other space agencies, times, maps, and more information.

Diane Dailey (bottom), a woman with brown hair, poses for a picture in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. She wears a black blazer, and her arms are crossed as she smiles. Her name, "Diane Dailey" is written below her. Dailey stands at a desk with three monitors on it, as well as a telephone and several cords. Her nameplate, reading “Flight Director” is visible at the center of the photo. Behind her are several large screens lining the walls. Various information is displayed on those screens, but a map of the world and the Horizon Flight logo are most prominent. There are also people working at other desks in the room. 

In the center of the image is an orange many-pointed star shape. The text in the sticker says "Tumblr answer time." Credit: NASA, Tumblr
ALT

What’s It Like to Work in NASA’s Mission Control Center?

In the latest installment of our First Woman graphic novel series, we see Commander Callie Rodriguez embark on the next phase of her trailblazing journey, as she leaves the Moon to take the helm at Mission Control.

Two panels from the second issue of First Woman, NASA’s graphic novel series following fictional astronaut Callie Rodriguez. In the first panel, Callie, dressed in a suit, speaks to an astronaut while working at Mission Control. She says, “Commander! We’re getting updated readings from the surface. The weather’s changing rapidly. There’s a new dust storm at the landing site. You may have to assume manual control as you approach the surface. The decision will be yours.” The speech bubble overlaps into the second panel, which shows the many desks and computer monitors in Mission Control. On the screen, we can see the astronaut Callie is speaking to. Credit: NASAALT

Flight directors work in Mission Control to oversee operations of the International Space Station and Artemis missions to the Moon. They have a unique, overarching perspective focused on integration between all the systems that make a mission a success – flight directors have to learn a little about a lot.

Diane Dailey and Chloe Mehring were selected as flight directors in 2021. They’ll be taking your questions about what it’s like to lead teams of flight controllers, engineers, and countless professionals, both agencywide and internationally, in an Answer Time session on Nov. 28, 2023, from noon to 1 p.m. EST (9-10 a.m. PST) here on our Tumblr!

Like Callie, how did their unique backgrounds and previous experience, prepare them for this role? What are they excited about as we return to the Moon?

🚨 Ask your questions now by visiting https://nasa.tumblr.com/ask.

Diane Dailey started her career at NASA in 2006 in the space station Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) group. As an ECLSS flight controller, she logged more than 1,700 hours of console time, supported 10 space shuttle missions, and led the ECLSS team. She transitioned to the Integration and System Engineering (ISE) group, where she was the lead flight controller for the 10th and 21st Commercial Resupply Services missions for SpaceX. In addition, she was the ISE lead for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-1 and Demo-2 crew spacecraft test flights. Dailey was also a capsule communicator (Capcom) controller and instructor.

She was selected as a flight director in 2021 and chose her call sign of “Horizon Flight” during her first shift in November of that year. She has since served as the Lead Flight director for the ISS Expedition 68, led the development of a contingency spacewalk, and led a spacewalk in June to install a new solar array on the space station. She is currently working on development of the upcoming Artemis II mission and the Human Lander Systems which will return humanity to the moon. Dailey was raised in Lubbock, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. She is married and a mother of two. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

Chloe Mehring started her NASA career in 2008 in the Flight Operations’ propulsion systems group and supported 11 space shuttle missions. She served as propulsion support officer for Exploration Flight Test-1, the first test flight of the Orion spacecraft that will be used for Artemis missions to the Moon. Mehring was also a lead NASA propulsion officer for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and served as backup lead for the Boeing Starliner spacecraft.

She was accepted into the 2021 Flight Director class and worked her first shift in February 2022, taking on the call sign “Lion Flight”. Since becoming certified, she has worked over 100 shifts, lead the NG-17 cargo resupply mission team, and executed two United States spacewalks within 10 days of each other. She became certified as a Boeing Starliner Flight Director, sat console for the unmanned test flight in May 2022 (OFT-2) and will be leading the undock team for the first crewed mission on Starliner in the spring of next year. She originally is from Mifflinville, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in State College. She is a wife, a mom to one boy, and she enjoys fitness, cooking and gardening.

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