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Meet: Victoria P. Friedensen

photo of Victoria Friedensen

NASA Headquarters
Program Executive for the
Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Mission

Victoria Pidgeon Friedensen, NASA Headquarters, is Program Executive for the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission. Ms. Friedensen is responsible for ensuring that the LCROSS spacecraft development is on schedule (it is, thank you) and that all essential documentation and plans are in place for this exciting mission to the Moon (a dirty job but someone has to do it). She is the NASA HQ Team Lead for education and outreach for this phase of NASA’s Return to the Moon (this is the fun part).

Ms. Friedensen specializes in risk management and social policy. As an anthropologist specializing in the study of culture and technology, Ms. Friedensen’s work focuses on the interface between technology and society by understanding social acceptance of technologies and risk (OK, since you asked – this means why is it that some risks/technologies/ideas are acceptable and others are not?). This expertise resulted in assignment to LCROSS, a fast-track innovative mission to the moon that is especially challenging as the Moon is sacred to several cultures and religions here on Earth. She worked on two other NASA missions – the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Cassini Mission to Saturn.

Ms. Friedensen was born in Cape Canaveral, Florida, is one of seven brothers and sisters, and is a ‘NASA-brat’ (I am one year older than the Space Age!). She attended the University of North Carolina earning an undergraduate degree in anthropology. She continued her studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, earning degrees in science and technology policy. She has won several awards while at NASA – for her work on the Prometheus program and for her work as a First Responder when Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi. Her resume includes work as an archeologist, a goat-herd, a first responder, a stonemason, an executive secretary, a swimming teacher, and strategic communications manager (not in that order).

Ms. Friedensen is recently married and is now Mom to four daughters and one son. She lives in Herndon, Virginia. When not managing missions to the Moon, she enjoys hiking, swimming, reading science fiction, playing cribbage, and cooking (again, not in that order).


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