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'Go for launch' | University of Louisville alum joins NASA, helps launch Artemis I

“Of course, I’m focusing on my work when I’m in there but mentally I’m so excited saying to myself, ‘I’m in a rocket, I’m inside the rocket.'"
Credit: University of Louisville
Alora Mazarakis is a University of Louisville graduate who works for NASA. She was part of the Artemis I launch on Nov. 15.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — This University of Louisville graduate may not have landed on the moon yet, but she's helping other people on their journey.

According to a press release, NASA hired Alora Mazarakis in April 2021 where she became a flight communication and tracking electrical engineer.

“My job in Artemis I is to be a part of the team that tests, verifies and prepares all the radio frequency and antenna systems for launch readiness, as well as the video systems on the Orion crew module,” Mazarakis said. “On launch day, we sit in the firing rooms and say, ‘Go for launch’ on all of the communication systems."

She said the name "Artemis" will stand for all the missions NASA has planned for the next decade.

“We will launch Artemis II, which is going to do an orbital flight. Artemis III will be the one where we plan on putting boots on the moon,” she said.

She was also part of the Nov. 16 launch.

Mazarakis realized she loved problem-solving and making things when she saw the coursework at the Speed School of Engineering.

She first majored in bioengineering but changed it to aerospace after joining the Ricer City Rocketry (RCR) team according to the release.

“River City Rocketry wasn’t just a club, it was a team where they only pick the people who have real passion that’s palpable, people who are going to be dedicated and spend all their extra time at the engineering garage and really learn how to build rockets,” Mazarakis said.

She said she's always wanted to work in space, and RCR made her realize she actually wanted to build the rockets.

“Of course, I’m focusing on my work when I’m in there but mentally I’m so excited saying to myself, ‘I’m in a rocket, I’m inside the rocket,’” she said.

While she said she is happy with her current job, she thinks she will apply for the next spaceflight class in an attempt to become an astronaut.

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