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Vanessa Kuroda

Spacecraft Communications Engineer

NASA Ames Research Center

Reach for the Stars! - Working for NASA.


September 6, 2013 through April 21, 2014 marked the mission lifecycle of the highly successful LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) spacecraft that orbited the moon to gather detailed information about the thin lunar atmosphere. This talk will address the development, risks, and lessons learned. I will teach you about the technologies used and how we met our mission goals. One of the mission's great achievements was the deployment of LADEE's unique radio frequency (RF) based communications capabilities because it was small, flexible, low cost and high performance. We developed new technologies for this, including unique test regimes and a RF dynamic link analysis environment. The advances we made with the LADEE spacecraft communications can now be applied to future similar low-cost small satellite missions, over widely varying needs for communications and communications system complexity.

Meet the Speaker:

Vanessa Kuroda is a spacecraft communications engineer at NASA Ames Research Center. She currently is the Communications Subsystem Lead for the NASA BioSentinel 6U CubeSat Mission, in addition to working mission proposals and collaborations between NASA and various organizations. She had the amazing opportunity to help build, integrate, test and operate LADEE, the Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer, as a part of the Communications Subsystem and the Real Time Mission Operations Teams. Vanessa is a proud alumni of the University of Southern California, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering. While at USC, she was involved with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and IEEE, as well as various hip hop dance group. She studied abroad at Queen Mary, University of London, and interned at Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and JPL before completing the co-op program and starting full-time at NASA Ames, where she is active in the Ames’ Women’s Influence Network (WIN) and the Ames Early Career Network.

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