NASA Introduces New Flight Directors in Class of 2021
NASA has selected four new additions to its cadre of flight directors to oversee operations of the International Space Station. The newest inductees in the class of 2021 are Diane Dailey, Chloe Mehring, Fiona Turett, and Brandon Lloyd.
They will work in the Mission Control Center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston to lead teams of flight controllers, engineers, and countless professionals, both agencywide and internationally. Following a rigorous training program that includes both technical knowledge and leadership skills, they will be ready to oversee human spaceflight missions to, from, and aboard the space station, as well as the lunar missions of NASA’s Artemis program.
With the addition of this new class, the role of flight director has been held by only 101 individuals across NASA’s history. The new class will follow in the footsteps of Apollo-era flight directors, such as Gene Kranz and the namesake of the Mission Control Center, Christopher C. Kraft.
Becoming a NASA flight director is no easy task. Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field like engineering or computer science. They also must have a background of professional experience, especially in a high-stress environment requiring fast-paced decision-making.
Meet NASA’s newest flight directors, all of whom began their NASA careers at JSC:
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 is a lead NASA propulsion officer for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and serves as backup lead for the Boeing Starliner spacecraft. In this role, she supported the Boeing Pad Abort Test and was the ascent/entry propulsion officer for Starliner’s first test flight, Orbital Flight Test-1. On the SpaceX side, she was the NASA propulsion officer for the In-Flight Abort Test, as well as the Demo-1 and Demo-2 test flights. She is from Mifflinville, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in State College.
Turett began her NASA career in 2009 in Safety and Mission Assurance, supporting propulsion system safety for the last nine space shuttle missions. She later served as a program director for Manna Project International in Managua, Nicaragua, for a year before returning to NASA and becoming a flight controller and instructor for the space station’s Motion Control System. Turett was the Expedition 56 control system lead for both crew training and real-time operations. She then was the lead for operational integration of the Gateway outpost that will orbit the Moon and the lunar Human Landing System programs, and served as Flight Operations lead for Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element before becoming the Flight Operations integration manager for Gateway. She is from Rochester Hills, Michigan, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.
Lloyd began his NASA career in 2008, developing Orion crew training systems. Lloyd later became a space station Environmental and Thermal Operating Systems (ETHOS) flight controller and logged more than 3,000 hours of console time, serving as ETHOS lead for Northrop Grumman’s first commercial resupply services mission, Orbital-1, several spacewalks, and Expedition 42. He was the ETHOS lead for integration for the Boeing Starliner spacecraft, and led development of joint emergency operations for the NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Lloyd also was capcom lead for emergency operations, and SpaceX’s 17th Commercial Resupply Mission. Most recently, he served as the Avionics Trainee Group lead, responsible for training and certification of new flight controllers. Lloyd was raised in Plano, Texas, and graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a minor in entrepreneurship.
Learn more about careers at NASA at: https://www.nasa.gov/careers.