Land + Sea +Air


krysta rhodes





When Krysta reflects on her journey so far, she thinks of her collective experiences as a relentless pursuit of her passions. She aims to see humans reach Mars, life become interplanetary, and aid in finding answers to the biggest questions we have about our lives here on Earth. She also hopes to encourage the next generation to tackle even bigger challenges through STEM outreach along the way.

At San Diego State University, she earned her Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies with the goal of applying her skills to the space exploration industry. In addition to academics, she placed a heavy focus on developing herself as an engineer through multiple project experiences. Her foundation in practical, hands-on engineering began with SDSU’s Formula SAE team. She quickly became fascinated with the complexity of vehicle dynamics, and eventually migrated into the role of Suspension Lead. From there, her professional growth led her to internships at GKN Aerospace and General Atomics during her freshman and sophomore years.

During her junior year, her relentless passion for space exploration brought her to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. At JPL, she worked on the Mars Sample Return Mission for 7 months, and focused on evaluating potential future launching mechanisms for bringing spacecraft back to Earth after reaching Mars. During this time, her love for space advocacy and outreach flourished, and incorporated educational outreach on the elementary level throughout the entirety of her experience. Following JPL, she translated all that she learned with the Mars Sample Return team into an ambitious senior capstone project that aimed to develop a system capable of extracting water from subsurface ice on Mars for future ISRU purposes.

Today, Krysta is a member of the Falcon 9 structures team at SpaceX as a Manufacturing Engineer working to make interplanetary travel a reality. In her role, she is responsible for Falcon Vertical Barrel Integration, a build process in which structural hardware is installed to Falcon segments prior to 1st and 2nd stage integration. Regardless of the project she is working on, she is always a dedicated advocate for space exploration, and believes that her passion for exploration is better when shared with those around her.

Outside of work, she enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and places that remind her of how stunning our world is. Although the pandemic put a damper on many of her favorite hobbies, she’s been able to nurture new passions, such as reading, drawing, and cooking.