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LAS to Host JPL Systems Engineer Tracy Drain at the April Meeting

Tue, March 07, 2017 7:12 AM | Warren Philpot (Administrator)

The April meeting of the Louisville Astronomical Society will be held on Saturday, April 15 at 7:00 PM in the Cochran Auditorium of Strickler Hall on the U of L campus behind the Planetarium.

It will feature JPL Systems Engineer Tracy Drain. She will be speaking about the Kepler mission although Tracy has served on the MRO and Juno mission teams.

Tracy will be giving a STEM-oriented talk for young adults and students in the same lecture hall at 3:30 PM. While she is in Louisville, she will be visiting schools as a role model.


Image above: JPL mechanical engineer Tracy Drain stands outside JPL.
Image credit: NASA/JPL

Tracy is a Flight Systems Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Tracy was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where she graduated from Waggener High School in 1993.

She received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky. While at UK, she interned at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. She went on to receive her MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in May of 2000.

In her 15 years at JPL, she has participated in the development and operation of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter(MRO), Kepler (searching for new Exoplanets) and Juno, orbiting Jupiter to find new knowledge about the Gas Giant.

MRO is still orbiting Mars and returning valuable science data about the red planet. It also serves as a communications relay for the rovers currently exploring Mars. Tracy left MRO in the fall of 2007 to join the Kepler project, which was preparing for a March 2009 launch and a mission of hunting for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

In May 2009, Tracy joined the Juno project on the Project Systems and Flight Systems Engineering teams. Juno is studying the giant planet's gravity and magnetic fields and learning about its structure. That knowledge will help scientists learn more details about the early history of our solar system.

Tracy became interested in space as a child, and her love of Math, Physics and anything related to Space led her to pursue a career as an engineer at NASA.

In her free time, she can most often be found curled up with a good book (her other favorite way to explore new worlds). While in Louisville, Tracy will be visiting schools as a role model and she will give an extra lecture for kids prior to her 7:00 lecture.

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Louisville Astronomical Society, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Kentucky, P.O. Box 17554, Louisville, KY 40217

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