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Christine Powell poses for a portrait, Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Christine Powell

NASA Rocket Propulsion Test Program Manager

Christine Powell is the portfolio manager for NASA’s chemical rocket propulsion test capabilities across four centers and is responsible for helping oversee the investments in these capabilities to best meet the agency’s current and future needs. 

Propulsion systems are critical to spaceflight, and testing is essential to both development and operations of rockets and spacecraft. As part of the rocket propulsion test program, Powell’s work helps support the development and qualification testing for NASA missions to the Moon, and the growth of the U.S. commercial launch industry. 

“Seeing young companies grow in their technology development and helping NASA’s missions succeed has left a lasting impression on me,” said Powell. “The program I support provides a highly relevant contribution for the future of exploration and commercial space.” Powell draws on past experiences in the more than thirty years at NASA across various roles, as well as the expertise of her co-workers. 

People are at the heart of NASA, and they truly make this the best agency to work for in the world.

Christine Powell

Christine Powell

NASA Rocket Propulsion Test Program Manager

“Working with day-to-day team members and diverse individuals from around the world, in this relatively small space community, is the best part of my role,” said Powell. “People are at the heart of NASA, and they truly make this the best agency to work for in the world.” 

Part of Powell’s experience is helping NASA return to the Moon as part of Artemis. Powell served on the Core Stage Green Run Project’s Operational Readiness Assessment Committee, and was able to witness, first-hand, the work by the amazing team who completed a rigorous test campaign to ensure the successful launch of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket on Nov. 16, 2022, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

hot fire test
NASA conducts a hot fire test March 18, 2021, of the core stage for the agency’s Space Launch System rocket on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The hot fire is the final test of the Green Run test series, which represents a comprehensive assessment of the core stage and its integrated systems prior to its launch on the Artemis I mission to the Moon.

“Standing near the Apollo-Saturn V Center at Kennedy that early morning and seeing the fruits of so many people coming together in such an awe-inspiring way will be one of the most memorable moments in my life,” said Powell. “I look forward to the coming Green Run on the Exploration Upper Stage and the team’s future success.” 

In the future, Powell sees the agency remaining a global leader, working collaboratively with its partners across industry, academia, and other governmental agencies within the United States and internationally to advance science, technology, aeronautics, and human spaceflight for the betterment of our nation and the world. 

“We will have a sustained presence on the Moon, demonstrating the technologies and operations necessary for human presence farther into the solar system while improving life here on Earth,” said Powell. 

Outside of work, Powell’s faith and family inspire her the most, as well as an interest in music. As a middle and high school student, Powell played the clarinet during concert season, twirled a color guard flag during marching and winter guard performances, and served as co-drum major her senior year. In college, Powell played the clavinova piano. Powell’s experience with the performing arts led to an admiration of BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan), a South Korean music group. 

 “I couldn’t ask to be in a better place at this moment. I’m excited for the upcoming Artemis missions due to my role at NASA, but also because BTS has songs in the NASA Moon Tunes playlist compiled for the crew to enjoy along their journey. The set of tracks mirrors my own eclectic taste and bring all my interests together in a unique way,” said Powell. 

Powell’s work on chemical propulsion testing was featured on NASA’s “Small Steps, Giant Leaps” podcast

NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) propels the agency’s human space exploration efforts, enabling missions to low Earth orbit, the Moon and beyond through communication and navigation, launch services, research capabilities, and crew health and support.