Artemis is NASA’s deep space human exploration program which aims to land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon and establish sustainable exploration in preparation for missions to Mars. For this Q&A, we connected with #OurJacobs Mechanical Analysis Engineering Manager Jennifer Lu, who works on the team supporting NASA with system assembly, integration and test through the Exploration Ground Systems Program.
Hi Jennifer! What’s your favorite part of your role?
Getting to see the facility and equipment up close! I’ve been inside the Crawler Transporter, on the Launch Tower, up on the lightning towers, under the solid rocket boosters and more.
What attracted you to a career in STEAM?
I’ve always really liked mathematics and machines. I’ve worked on cars, motorcycles, and built lots of mechanical items when I was younger. My math-club coach/teacher encouraged me to pursue a degree in engineering.
What’s something you learned in the last week?
The Crawler Transporters have over 2,000 miles on them! The individual tracks have 57 shoes, for a total of 456 shoes per crawler. A single shoe measures 7.5-feet-long, 1.5-feet-wide and weighs around a ton (2,000 pounds).
Most proud career moment?
I was part of the team that won a Silver Achievement Award for the repair work done to the Crawler Transporters.
Artemis I is laying the groundwork to put the first woman and person of color on the moon. What does this mean to you?
This is something I’m SUPER proud of and very excited for. As both a woman and a person of color, I’ve always wanted to travel to space. Seeing very few women and minorities in the space program always made it a difficult dream for others to accept as even a possibility. Knowing that it’s not just a possibility, but will actually happen, gives me a ton of pride and excitement knowing that women and minorities all over the world may be inspired to pursue their own dreams by having this level of representation in the space program.
Jacobs employees at multiple NASA centers, along with their NASA and industry counterparts, are committed to providing integrated solutions in support of the agency's mission and the nation's space program. Explore more about our work on the Artemis program.
Who or what inspires you?
Sally Ride inspires me as being one of the first women and LGBT+ individuals to be in the astronaut corps. The actress Nichelle Nichols from Star Trek also inspires me for how much she has contributed to the vision of space exploration and the encouragement of civilians, women and minorities to join the space program.
People would be surprised to know that I…
…used to be a full-time circus performer. I’ve performed all over the world on national and international television and am a world record holder. I’ve traveled all over the U.S. to teach circus arts such as whip cracking, fire breathing, fire eating, aerial arts, acrobatics, magic, dance and much more.
About the interviewee
Jennifer Lu is part of the Jacobs team working on NASA’s Artemis program. In her role as mechanical analysis engineering manager, Jennifer manages employee resources, workload and project scope, and reviews documentation for all mechanical analysis for Ground Systems, such as the Crawler Transporter, Mobile Launcher, Launch Tower, Vehicle Assembly Building, High Bays and landing and recovery.
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