Mission: Mars 2020

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NASA Aerospace Engineer Caley Burke discusses NASA missions around Earth, the Solar System, and Mars Mission 2020.


Caley Burke is an aerospace engineer for NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP). She analyzes the trajectories of the rockets launching NASA and NOAA robotic spacecraft missions. She is currently assigned to the Joint Polar Satellite System 2 (JPSS-2) mission launching on Atlas V 401 rocket. She works the interface between the spacecraft and launch vehicle teams, getting the spacecraft delivered to the right place at the right time and pointed in the right direction. Additionally, she is branching out into manned launch with the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and Space X Dragon capsules, respectively on Atlas V and Falcon 9 rockets, with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). 

Caley also leads the KSC International Space Apps Challenge team, which both develops challenges to be solved worldwide and hosts a Space Apps location. She enjoys doing educational outreach for NASA and speaking at schools, museums, etc. She mentors via FIRST Robotics Team 1592, the Bionic Tigers, and NASA GIRLS and is in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She’s a member of the NASA LSP social media team, live tweeting launches and posting on LSP outreach. She posts personal experiences with space, science and more at @RocketCaley (not an official account). 

Previously, Caley worked the launches of Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the Mars 2018 lander, InSight, on an Atlas V, NuSTAR on a Pegasus XL, and Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) on a Delta II. She received a NASA Silver Achievement Medal with the LSP Flight Dynamics Team for qualifying Pegasus XL flight software for NuSTAR. She performed a flight controls study for the Parker Solar Probe mission with a NASA Engineering and Safety Center team. She also performs independent validation and verification analysis on any launch vehicle configurations that are new to NASA LSP. She has served on console (aka an engineer on headset looking at rocket data on launch day) as NASA Winds (saying GO!) and Flight Dynamics for LSP missions. 

Caley’s position contributes to space exploration by providing expertise to reduce risk the delivery of NASA exploratory missions to space and maintaining knowledge of the expendable launch vehicle market.