Nayi Castro started working with NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission in 2018 because the spacecraft approached asteroid Bennu. She began on the mission as deputy mission operations supervisor (“MOM” for brief, in NASA-speak). Right this moment she serves in the function of lead MOM. As OSIRIS-REx will get prepared to go away Bennu, Castro shares her ideas on her work with OSIRIS-REx (NASA’s first-ever asteroid pattern return mission) and her profession with NASA, in addition to her private pursuits.
What are the tasks of a MOM?
Nayi: I handle the entire actions related to sending instructions to, and receiving information again from, the spacecraft. This contains the communication and switch of merchandise amongst workforce members, primarily based in Maryland, Arizona, Colorado, and California, one thing that grew to become significantly difficult throughout COVID-19.
How are you feeling about OSIRIS-REx leaving Bennu?
Nayi: It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to the asteroid that was our spacecraft’s residence since OSIRIS-REx’s arrival in 2018. There was loads of modern science and engineering tailor-made to the design and operation of OSIRIS-REx, by an unbelievable workforce. Because the workforce begins to concentrate on return cruise and Earth reentry operations, I’m excited to know that scientists may have a bit of Bennu to check and additional deepen our understanding of our cosmic environment and of ourselves.
It’s going to take OSIRIS-REx two years to cruise again to Earth. That’s an extended highway journey. What music do you prefer to hearken to on lengthy highway journeys?
Nayi: One in every of my lengthy highway journey playlists would shuffle round Fleetwood Mac, Converge, Florence + the Machine, Brilliant Eyes, Brandy, Cursive, Bruce Springsteen, Marc Anthony, Misfits, David Bowie, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Glassjaw, Hermanos Gutierrez, The Roots, Jewel, mewithoutYou, Louie Vega, Grupo Area of interest, Pixies, Ricardo Arjona, The Smiths, The Mountain Goats, The Conflict, and on and on.
What was your favourite second in the course of the mission?
Nayi: With 2020 being such a troublesome 12 months for humankind, I used to be lucky to be on a workforce that prioritized well being, security, and continued mission success. A favourite factor for me to look at was the progress made by means of every 2020 mission milestone, such because the Checkpoint Rehearsal, Matchpoint Rehearsal, and in the end the Contact-and-Go (TAG) asteroid pattern assortment [Editor’s note: successfully completed in October]. It was inspiring to see a workforce’s dedication striving in the direction of a shared goal, regardless of being additional socially distanced and geographically separated than earlier than.
How did you get to NASA? What coaching or jobs or pursuits led you to this place?
Nayi: As a toddler, I discovered the work at NASA facilities fascinating. When my dad and mom watched the information, if there occurred to be a section on a NASA mission, my ears would perk up as a result of I believed it was unbelievable that we might find out about objects past our residence planet. My uncle’s enthusiasm for house missions and the expertise and science supporting them additionally enormously influenced me.
I pursued my curiosity of house by way of an astronautical engineering diploma. Whereas I used to be nonetheless at school, NASA and my undergraduate program initiated my profession in spacecraft operations after they granted me the chance to certify as a flight controller on a NASA mission.
What’s your favourite, most difficult, or most rewarding a part of the work?
Nayi: My favourite a part of this work is seeing the achievements which might be a direct results of each workforce member’s arduous work. It’s inspiring to work amongst science and engineering consultants who constantly discover and perceive Earth and outer house. I’m delighted that these discoveries can then be shared with everybody. It’s rewarding to take a step again and respect the depth of data that has been collected for many years.
his video, from August 2020, gives an inside look into how an elite athlete and a NASA engineer put together for the challenges forward of them. Natasha Cloud, an expert basketball participant for the Washington Mystics of the WNBA, and Nayi Castro, a mission operations supervisor for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, share how they put together for a criticial second of their careers. For Natasha Cloud, it was about how the workforce begins a brand new season after successful a championship. For Nayi Castro, it was concerning the cautious preparation for the OSIRIS-REx Contact and Go maneuver (TAG) that sought to gather a pattern from asteroid Bennu and return it again to Earth. (The mission efficiently collected its pattern in October 2020 and can quickly start the journey residence.) The journey is difficult and pushes every particular person to maintain their efforts over an extended time frame to succeed in their objectives.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Middle; gameplay footage supplied courtesy WNBA, used with permission
What missions have you ever labored on for NASA earlier than OSIRIS-REx?
Nayi: I’ve been lucky to work on two NASA Earth-observing missions and a lunar mission. I used to be a university intern once I labored on the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM). At TRMM, I discovered find out how to successfully talk with the satellite tv for pc and be conscious of excellent spacecraft well being and security methods. After TRMM, the Terra mission was my first full-time alternative. I used to be a part of the flight workforce that supported 24/7 on-console operations. The subsequent mission was the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the place I spent most of my operations time. That was a terrific expertise that supplied me with varied methods to develop my flight console experience and techniques engineering information. I additionally work with the Mars Environment and Risky EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft. This mission continues to supply an abundance of knowledge on the Martian environment.
What do you do in your free time – any hobbies or sports activities or exterior pursuits?
Nayi: I get pleasure from studying, training yoga, listening to music, and spending time with family members. My canines additionally convey me loads of pleasure!
The rest that you just’d like individuals to know?
Nayi: I hope that individuals can discover a theme of unity and progress in most of the missions that NASA has flown all through the years. I aspire to help science and engineering to additional perceive our photo voltaic system and past and extra of ourselves.