Roberta B. Sherrard was director for Mission Operations at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, from 2017 to January 2024, when she retired from the agency. She was responsible for the development, acquisition, operation, and sustainment of the Dryden Aeronautical Test Range (DATR), Simulation Engineering, and Information Technology (IT) Services capabilities for the user community. Specific capabilities included IT systems, IT security, flight test range operations, research aircraft telemetry, mission control rooms, air-to-ground communications, ground communications, flight data processing, and advanced flight simulations.
Previously, Sherrard was the chief of staff at NASA Armstrong. Appointed to the position in 2016, she served as an expert analyst to the center director, dealing with the implementation of center and institutional strategies.
From 2008 to 2016, Sherrard was the deputy director for Mission Operations, responsible for oversight and direction of the center’s mission operations technology infrastructure and services. In addition, she played a key role in the creation of Armstrong’s Strategic Plan, which sets the center’s course for the future.
Her deputy director responsibilities included flight test range engineering and operations services, aircraft engineering simulations, and all IT services. She was responsible for the strategic direction and operational functions of the DATR, Simulation Engineering, and IT Services in support of Armstrong’s missions.
Sherrard came to NASA in 1999. She supported the X-34, X-43A, and F/A-18 Active Aeroelastic Wing projects while developing a working knowledge of real-time data acquisition systems, data processing, graphical displays, and software development. She also participated in the requirements specification, development and acceptance testing for the DATR Integrated Next Generation System, which advanced the capabilities to support future test programs.
Sherrard began her federal career in 1989 at the Air Force Test Center (AFTC) on Edwards Air Force Base, California. She worked as a program analyst on flight test projects that included the YA-7F, AC-130, F-16, C-17, and F-22 aircraft for the Ridley Mission Control Center at Edwards.
Sherrard earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas. She is the recipient of a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and the NASA Group Achievement Award for her work on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Support Team, and she was selected as a Women@NASA honoree in 2013.