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Melissa Jones, NASA Landing and Recovery Director, Exploration Ground Systems

Melissa Jones

Division Chief, Operations and Test Management, Exploration Ground Systems

Melissa Jones currently serves as division chief of Operations and Test Management for the Exploration Ground Systems Program at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Jones is responsible for all staffing, resources, and facilities used for flight hardware processing, launch, and recovery for Artemis missions. 


Jones most recently served as the NASA Landing and Recovery director for the first Artemis mission, where she partnered with the U.S. Navy to recover the Artemis I Orion crew module from the Pacific Ocean. Prior to that, Jones served as the lead system engineering and launch site integration manager for the Ground and Mission Operations division of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Her responsibilities in this position included leading the spacecraft production effort, integrated system’s verification testing across elements, and hardware and operations readiness for the launch site. She also was the design requirement owner for all landing requirements levied on the NASA commercial partners, including contingency operations and medical requirements at landing.

She joined NASA’s human spaceflight effort in 2004 as a contractor on the Space Shuttle Program and moved to NASA in 2007 as the lead orbiter project engineer on space shuttle Endeavour. Her primary responsibility in this position was to get the Endeavour vehicle ready to fly from a requirements management and testing perspective.


Jones is a graduate of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, earning a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 2003 and a master’s degree in engineering management in 2016.


Jones is a 2017 Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Stellar Award Nominee.


Jones is a native of Florida, where she lives with her husband Paul, her two children, Bailey and Les, and her dog, Domino. Her hobbies include kickboxing, reading and home improvement projects.

Biography last updated February 2023