HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the newest leaders of the NASA Mission Control Center, which calls the shots for what happens on the International Space Station, is from Plano. 

Brandon Lloyd joins an elite list (only 101 people have had the job) of current and former NASA flight directors. Following a rigorous training program that includes both technical knowledge and leadership skills, he will be ready to oversee human spaceflight missions to, from, and aboard the space station, as well as the lunar missions of NASA’s Artemis program.

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“Our flight directors are at the forefront of everything that humans do in space,” said NASA Flight Operations Director Steve Koerner. “We place a huge responsibility upon them individually to take any necessary action to ensure the safety of our astronauts, the safety of the spacecraft, and to accomplish the mission.”

The new class will follow in the footsteps of Apollo-era flight directors, such as Gene Kranz and the namesake of the Mission Control Center, Christopher C. Kraft.

In Spring 2018, Lloyd told Illinois Tech Magazine, “We are, as humans, explorers. Our job at NASA is to figure out how we get off of Spaceship Earth, because it’s not going to be around forever. We need to know what it’s like out there and how to get there, and we’re building the initial steps for humanity to do that in the future right now.”

Becoming a NASA flight director is no easy task. Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field like engineering or computer science. They also must have a background of professional experience, especially in a high-stress environment requiring fast-paced decision-making.

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Lloyd began his NASA career in 2008, developing Orion crew training systems. He later became a space station Environmental and Thermal Operating Systems (ETHOS) flight controller and logged more than 3,000 hours of console time, serving as ETHOS lead for Northrop Grumman’s first commercial resupply services mission, Orbital-1, several spacewalks, and Expedition 42.

He was the ETHOS lead for integration for the Boeing Starliner spacecraft, and led development of joint emergency operations for the NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. He also was capcom lead for emergency operations, and SpaceX’s 17th Commercial Resupply Mission. Most recently, he served as the Avionics Trainee Group lead, responsible for training and certification of new flight controllers.

Lloyd graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a minor in entrepreneurship.

Another Texas, Diane Dailey, who was raised in Lubbock and graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station, is also a new Flight Director. Dailey started her career at NASA in 2006 in the space station Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) group. Dailey a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from A&M. She’s also a capsule communicator (capcom) controller and instructor.

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