“whether it’s a launch or we’re
breaking ground on another building
or instituting a new business process
to make ourselves more efficient.
We’re greeting VIPs, senators and
congressmen and getting to show off
She oversees a workforce of 7,300
civil and contract employees. For the
ninth consecutive year, civil workers
rated NASA as the best federal
agency to work for, and the Kennedy
Space Center holds that ranking
among NASA’s 10 field centers. She
is grateful for the 90 commercial
partners and contractors, along with
her dedicated team, “to meet the
milestone,” she says.
COMMITMENT TO NASA
Petro embraces NASA’s tenets
— safety, integrity, teamwork,
excellence and inclusion. Her
support of a robust protocol set up
18: SPACE COAST LIVING | SPACECOASTLIVING.COM
Petro speaks at a 2014 expo
showcasing industrial vendors.
NASA encourages collaboration
with industry in part to accelerate
regional economic growth
on the Space Coast.
to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic for safety
exemplifies her commitment.
“I can’t say enough about the dedication and
motivation of our workforce,” she says. “I think
we do attract the best and the brightest and
because we have such a cool mission, it’s not
hard for people to want to come to work for
NASA. You see it in the interns, the students
that we host and people I run into in the
“They don’t even know what position I have,”
she says of shoppers who exclaim she’s a
dignitary. “It’s just the fact that I work for
NASA. It really resonates with people.”
The most dazzling to space aficionados — and
the center’s most prominent — is the Artemis
Exploration Ground Systems mission. It will
send the first woman and first person of color
to the moon and later carry astronauts to Mars.
Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo in Greek
myth, symbolizes America’s return to the
moon, 50 years after the Apollo flights.
The Space Launch System, the most powerful
rocket in the world, will carry humans and
cargo to the moon from the cape. The Orion
capsule, launching atop the SLS, will carry crew
into lunar orbit.
Essential parts of the Artemis mission are the
center’s launch pad, the mobile launcher, the
In the Launch Control Center, Petro and other managers monitor the countdown on Feb. 8, 2010, of
space shuttle Endeavour’s last night flight. The STS 130 crewed mission carried a pressurized module
that provided extra room for crew at the International Space Station. >>