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Meet: Laurie Darling

Cooperative Education Student
Flight Design and Dynamics Division
Johnson Space Center

"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars!"

Who I am and What I do

I am a co-op in the Flight Design and Dynamics Division working with the Visiting Vehicles Office. We are responsible for any type of vehicle that wants to go to the space station, or any activity involving rendezvous of the space shuttle and space station.

Some activities that make up my work include making decisions on how, when, where, and why the shuttle will rendezvous with the space station. Math skills are crucial to this job, as are knowledge of the Russian and Japanese language since we work with the Russians and Japanese to help them build safe space vehicles.

I always wanted to be an astronaut for as long as I can remember, so NASA has always been my dream! The best part is that I get to work in Mission Control!!! What I like the least is the computer programming that everyone has to do.

Education and Career Path

I worked as a counselor for the U.S. Space Camp and Aviation Challenge for a summer, and I pursued aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo (UB) to help land me a co-op position here at NASA. I was also involved in the aerospace engineering club at UB, which gave me a hands-on approach to the aerospace industry, through projects offered by the club.


I go back and forth every other semester from Houston to Buffalo for school and co-oping. I have two dogs back home in New York -- Toby is a terrier mix and Scout is a beagle. I miss my dogs down here in Houston!

When I'm home, our family loves to get together for big huge Italian dinners every Sunday night! I play lacrosse for my college in NY, and I love to paint as well. I also enjoy running, skiing, and reading books.

My new hobby is flying; I want to get my pilot's license in the next year. I have learned to always set goals, live for my dreams and never give up!

Growing Up

I grew up in Jamestown, NY and went to Southwestern Central High School. Since I was in sixth grade I've wanted to be an astronaut. A great experience I had in high school was winning a scholarship to attend Space Academy in Huntsville, AL, which was the most fun and interesting week ever! I always looked up to Eileen Collins, the first female shuttle pilot and commander, as my role model. When I was younger I liked to read astronomy books, or any books about NASA that I could find

Future plans and goals

I intend to go to graduate school to get my masters degree in aerospace engineering, and then hopefully become an astronaut!

View my webcast:

National Engineers Week Co-op Webcast Archive -- February 26, 2002


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