Press Release

New Flight Director Dina Contella to Lead NASA’s Mission Control

By SpaceRef Editor
June 26, 2009
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New Flight Director Dina Contella to Lead NASA’s Mission Control

Texas A&M alum Dina Contella was selected as one of three individuals to join the ranks of flight directors in Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Tasked with managing a team comprised of flight controllers, support personnel and engineering experts, a flight director assumes the overall responsibility for the execution of shuttle missions and space station expeditions.

Contella was born in Austin, Texas and earned her bachelor’s in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University in 1992. She began her work at NASA while still in school through the cooperative education program in 1990. After graduation, Contella worked as an astronaut instructor specializing in the Shuttle on-board computers and software, as well as entry and landing navigation aids. Since 1995, she has served as a space shuttle and space station flight controller and instructor responsible for planning, training and executing spacewalks. She served as the lead Extravehicular Activity Officer (EVA) liaison to Russia during early station construction, and after the Columbia accident, was instrumental in the development of shuttle Thermal Protection System (TPS) repair tools and techniques. Most recently, she served as the EVA Task Group lead, overseeing the safe operation of all EVA tasks on the shuttle and station.

"Since the first flight director, Chris Kraft, was selected during the Mercury era, 77 men and women have served as flight directors. One of the new flight directors will be the 80th in the history of U.S. human spaceflight," said John McCullough, chief of the Flight Director Office. "This is a very strong class with senior flight controllers who have an average of 10 years of flight control experience, and nearly two years of group lead management experience."

A flight director leads and orchestrates planning and integration activities with flight controllers, payload customers, international partners, as well as technical and program support across the Agency. Flight directors also are involved in developing plans and reviewing systems for future Constellation Program exploration missions. All of the recently selected flight directors will begin training as International Space Station flight directors.

“This group will help us transition the knowledge and experience from the existing human spaceflight programs into the development and execution of our exploration program with the new Orion spacecraft in the years to come,” McCullough said.

SpaceRef staff editor.