Mission Operations Manager
Sierra Flynn is the Mission Operations Manager for SmallSats at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. She obtained her B.A. in astrophysics and B.S. in computer science in 2015 from CU Boulder, and continued studying there for her 2017 M.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering with an Earth Sciences focus. Sierra was previously a student Command Controller on the LASP Space Flight Operations Team from 2013 through 2017, where she realized that mission operations was the perfect career path to combine her passions for Earth and space sciences, computer programming, and data analysis. For her aerospace master’s thesis, Sierra pioneered the first global mapping of MLAT-MLT nitric oxide flux and variability in the thermosphere using Empirical Orthogonal Functions, cross-validation, and solar/geophysical correlations under the mentorship of CU Professors Delores Knipp and Tomoko Matsuo. After graduation, Sierra worked as a systems engineer for JPL’s Curiosity rover, where she became an expert in the rover’s engineering operations, fault protection, flight software, robotic arm, and the rover testbed. After 2.5 years in LA, Sierra and her husband Chad realized that they desperately missed the rugged nature and far-reaching serenity that is so unique to Colorado, so they decided to move to Longmont, CO. Sierra accepted a position at LASP as a Flight Controller on TSIS, EVE, and GOLD, before being transitioned full-time to managing LASP’s SmallSat Operations. Throughout her career, Sierra has coded in over a dozen programming languages and has been involved with the development, operations, and/or science data analysis of 19 missions, including: QuikSCAT, TIMED, SORCE, AIM, Kepler, MMS, Curiosity, GOLD, EVE, TSIS, CSIM, CUTE, CTIM, CIRBE, SPRITE, AEPEX, CANVAS, DYNAGLO, and SunCET. Sierra spends her free time climbing mountains by foot and bike, trying out new artistic endeavors, and playing with her 2 bunnies, Cinnabunn and Luna.
University of Colorado, Boulder, M.S., 2017
University of Colorado, Boulder, B.S., 2015
University of Colorado, Boulder, B.A., 2015