Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of five features introducing members of the IXPE team. The features will run weekly through Dec. 8.
By Jim Cawley
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
The Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), NASA’s first mission dedicated to measuring X-ray polarization, is targeted for launch on Dec. 9, 2021, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. IXPE will study changes in the polarization of X-ray light through some of the universe’s most extreme sources – including black holes, dead stars known as pulsars, and more – to help astronomers better understand these exotic cosmic phenomena.
Meet one of the key members of the launch team:
Name: Jessica Curry
Official title: Contracting Officer Representative/Program Integration Manager
Job responsibilities: As part of NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) Business Office, I manage the contract between LSP and the Launch Services contractor, SpaceX, which includes a provision of launch services for the IXPE spacecraft. Together with the technical and procurement teams, I have negotiated several significant IXPE contract actions with SpaceX to enable mission integration and spacecraft readiness for launch.
I also manage one of LSP’s Venture Class Launch Services contracts (VCLS Demo-2) with Firefly Black and serve as program integration manager for NASA’s GOES-U and SPHEREx missions. I certainly feel privileged to be part of LSP to help accomplish our overall objective: to serve as “Earth’s Bridge to Space” in the provision of launch services for our spacecraft customers!
Time working for NASA: I have worked at NASA for 20 years, primarily at Johnson Space Center in Houston for the International Space Station Program. I have been in LSP at Kennedy for nine months now.
Degrees earned: Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University
Hometown: I grew up in Houston, Texas, and now live in Viera, Fla.
Family: I have an amazing husband, John, five children, Hannah, Logan, Kaitlin, Zack, and Matt, and two cats, Apollo and Athena.
Hobbies: I enjoy fitness, traveling, playing bunco with girlfriends, and extreme adventures, such as skydiving.
Fun fact: My husband and I were on a reality TV show, “Waterfront House Hunting” after we bought our Galveston, Texas beach house … and, no, neither one of us will give up our rewarding day jobs in aerospace for acting careers!