The Launch Services Program matches a commercial rocket
with a payload to carry out scientific and robotic missions,
“whether to Venus or the sun,” she says.
The center also prepares “all the payloads for delivery on
cargo vehicles to the space station,” in the Exploration
Research and Technology Program, Petro notes. Scientists
conduct research to develop technology for the next
generation of vehicles and sustainability for traveling in
“When you see astronauts on the space station eating
lettuce, we’re the ones doing all the advanced research on
that technology,” she explains. “When we go to Mars, we’re
going to need to maintain good nutrition of the astronauts.”
International partnering is an essential part of the space
station’s success and for heading to the moon and beyond.
“We’re going to need technology across the board to get
there,” she says of the many countries that partner with
NASA. “Space can be quite a unifying force.”
The center’s ambitious programs have recharged Brevard
County’s economy, local leaders say. Brian Baluta of the
Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space
Coast notes that the nearly weekly launches at the cape
Senior managers at Kennedy Space Center gather to commemorate Women’s History Month in 2020. NASA supports an active outreach through speaking engagements,
competitions and social media interaction for women employees to mentor youth, especially girls, interested in STEM careers, along with other fields.
20: SPACE COAST LIVING | SPACECOASTLIVING.COM
Petro describes details of her career path in engineering to students who competed
in NASA’s eighth annual robotic mining competition at the Kennedy Space
>> Center Visitor Complex in 2017.