I am GSDO: Sasha Sims
Business Management and Analysis Branch Chief
Ground Systems Development and Operations Program
My name is Sasha Sims, and I am the Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program Business Management and Analysis branch chief.
I’ve worked at Kennedy Space Center for about 10 years. I started working for NASA on the U.S. Air Force side in the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Management Office. Shortly after that, I moved to the Constellation Program and worked there for a couple of years before transitioning into my current role.
My office is essentially responsible for managing the program’s budget. I lead a team of program analysts who are responsible for working with our technical counterparts to identify and prioritize resources requirements. We do near-term and long-term budget planning, budget execution, and we also make sure that financial decisions align with the program’s priorities and support the technical and schedule baseline.
For me, the coolest part of my job is the people. I think we have some of the brightest and most talented people at Kennedy Space Center working in the GSDO Program. And seeing how that talent comes together to make history – I think it’s amazing.
What am I most proud of working in GSDO? It’s hard to pick just one achievement. I think we’ve made a lot of progress since the program got started. If you look at the launch pad today, it looks nothing like the shuttle launch pad used to look like. We’re also building new platforms for the Vehicle Assembly Building. We have a brand new Mobile Launcher. And we’re very close to doing our first test flight. So, to me that’s tangible and visible progress. To do that in an environment where you’re constantly being challenged about your budget and also have the pressure to keep on schedule, it’s incredible.
In the GSDO Program we’re basically starting from scratch. We’ve gone from formulation to design and development, verification and validation, and we will soon have an operational capability. So starting something from the very beginning and see it mature all the way through fruition, it’s what made me want to work for the GSDO Program.
I first became interested in space when I was in college. My second year I was taking a physics class, and the professor was showing us some images from the Hubble Space Telescope and one of these images had a lot of different lights, different colors all over the picture. At the time I thought those were stars, but then I learned that those were not stars, those were galaxies. So that’s when I realized that the universe is way bigger than I could possibly imagine. That’s when I became interested in space.
My advice to students interested in pursuing a career similar to mine is to not underestimate their abilities and their capabilities. I think you can do anything if you set your mind to do it. I have a four-year-old, and he always comes to me when he gets stuck with something and says, “Mama can you help me? I can’t do it.” And I always tell him “Yes you can. You can do anything. You just need to keep trying.”
My hometown is Camuy, Puerto Rico, and I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering.