Episode 171: How Do You Get a Rocket Ready for Launch?

Meet the Expert:  Nathalie Quintero, Core Stage Launch Operator Lead for Boeing Space on the SLS Project

Nathalie Quintero, Boeing engineer

Nathalie Quintero originally from Caracas, Venezuela is an Aerospace Systems Engineer working on NASA’s Space Launch Systems rocket with The Boeing Company. She serves as the Core Stage Launch Operations and Test Lead, where she is responsible of overseeing critical core stage operations for Artemis Missions and is the prime interface with the NASA Stages customer and Explorations Ground Systems (EGS)/COMET personnel. In addition, she leads and integrates a multi-disciplinary test team through launch and integration planning, test execution readiness and non-conformance test coordination.

These efforts were recognized in the Engineer of the Year 2021 award at her Florida Space Coast Operations (FSCO) site, and the Great Minds in STEM (GMIS) Most Promising Engineer Advance Degree award in 2022.She earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree with a double minor in AerospaceLife Sciences and Computer Aided Design from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (’15), and then a Master’s in Systems Engineering from Cornell University (’19), while working full-time. She is the founder of her bilingual personal project “STEM for Aerospace”, which seeks to inspire youth to be interested in the aerospace industry.

She is a mentor for STEM minority organizations, such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) to promote STEM fields of study to young women and the Latino community. In her free time, she is a flamenco dancer at Flamenco del Sol Academy in Orlando, FL where she performs in the Central Florida Arts community, and enjoys traveling to new countries. She hopes to continue to inspire many more women and Latinas to break industry barriers in aerospace.


Nathalie Quintero next to Artemis 1 at NASA KSC  Nathalie Quintero next to the SLS in the VAB

Images of Nathalie next to the SLS/Artemis 1 at Kennedy Space Center and in the VAB


Want to learn more about how the Space Launch System (SLS) was prepared for launch? Check out these awesome resources:






Challenge: NASA has created a packet of Artemis-themed “at home experiments” for kids to do over the summer. The experiment on stabilizing fins on pages 6-7 is particularly interesting to Nathalie! https://www.nasa.gov/stem-ed-resources/artemis-camp-experience.html .

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How We Got to the Moon book by John Rocco

Book List: 

Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact 
by Jennifer Swanson

The Hubble Space Telescope: Our Eye on the Universe by Terence Dickinson and Tracy Read

Exoplanets by Seymour Simon

Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space  by Miranda Paul (Author), Sija Hong (Illustrator)

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