NASA Engineer Embraces the Challenge of Change
Fri, 05/19/2023 - 09:54am | By: C. Lacy Thompson
NASA software project manager Kris Mobbs is no stranger to change, as a brief look
at his journey to the Mississippi Gulf Coast shows.
After being born in Michigan, Mobbs lived in Illinois and then, Wisconsin. A new job for his father brought his family to Mississippi nearly 30 years ago. Mobbs since has lived in various places along the Gulf Coast, including Biloxi, Gulfport, and Ocean Springs.
Now a Woolmarket resident, Mobbs learned to embrace change early in life. He brings that perspective with him daily to NASA’s Stennis Space Center, where the challenge of change and navigating the hard parts of his job as a NASA engineer are made easier because of the people he works alongside.
“The people are, hands down, the best,” Mobbs said. “The amount of support, trust, guidance, acceptance, constructive criticism, forgiveness, and comradery I have received and experienced has been life changing.”
The NASA Stennis federal city welcomed Mobbs to the site nearly nine years ago. He started as an intern at the Naval Research Laboratory after earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).
Mobbs followed his passion of software engineering in positions as a contract worker for the Navy and NASA before landing a job as a NASA engineer in the Electric Operations Branch of the Engineering and Test Directorate. He feels his NASA career has limitless potential, citing daily support from management to pursue his passion.
He currently manages the NASA Data Acquisition Software (NDAS) system, which was created at NASA Stennis. The goal is to build a software product that can be easily adopted by various projects and facilities within the agency. This helps minimize cost, while providing long-term maintenance, training, and support.
One function the software serves is collecting critical test information on RS-25 engines that will help power the Space Launch System rocket on Artemis missions to the Moon and eventual flights to Mars.
A key task with the overall scope of the project is prioritizing multiple stakeholder needs. There is no shortage of new features to create or improvements to make. The challenge, and management’s trust in Mobbs project leadership and decision making, strengthens the engineer’s resolve to move forward.
“I have never had to look far for guidance,” Mobbs said. “I have learned a lot about electrical engineering, personnel management and funding, NASA software engineering, and NASA software safety. I am very grateful to everyone who has given me the time to grow in these areas.”
As NASA inspires the world, Mobbs is encouraged daily at a place he describes as “one big family no matter who you are.”
“There are very exciting times ahead,” Mobbs said. “Our agency and center are changing and adapting to our new commercial friends joining us in space. It requires us to change as well, and not all change is bad. I look to our future at NASA with optimism and to my opportunities with excitement and pride.”