Meet: Victoria P. Friedensen
Executive for the
Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS)
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).