Who Is Anna Menon? The SpaceX Engineer Part Of Mission Polaris Dawn

who is anna menon
Who Is Anna Menon? She is a SpaceX engineer, who is one of the crew members of the space mission named Polaris Dawn. Married to NASA astronaut candidate and former SpaceX medical director Anil Menon, Anna has many successes under her belt. She is the Lead Space Operations Engineer and manages the development of crew operations.

The crew members of this unique mission were announced on February 14, yesterday, by the US billionaire and founder-CEO of Shift4, Jared Isaacman. He had commanded a human spaceflight mission last year called Inspiration4. Issacman announced the Polaris Programme as “a first-of-its-kind effort to rapidly advance human spaceflight capabilities while continuing to raise funds and awareness for important causes here on Earth.”

This programme will include three human spaceflight missions to demonstrate the technology, conduct research and culminate in the first flight of SpaceX’s Starship with humans on board. The mission is named Polaris Dawn and the target is to launch it in the fourth quarter of 2022 from Kennedy Space Center of NASA in Florida, the United States.

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Along with Anna Menon, there will be Scott Poteet and SpaceX employee Sarah Gillis.

Who Is Anna Menon?

At SpaceX, Menon implemented the crew capabilities of Dragon and helped in the creation of the crew communicator operator role, and developed critical operational responses to vehicle emergencies like a fire, amongst others. She has served in mission control during multiple cargo and crew Dragon missions, which includes Demo-2, Crew-1. CRS-22 and CRS-23.

Before joining SpaceX, she worked at NASA for seven years as a biomedical flight controller for the International Space Station. She is the wife of Indian-origin physician Anil Menon, who is a lieutenant colonel at the US Air Force. In December 2021, he was selected by NASA along with nine others to be an astronaut for future missions.

Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, he posted a picture of his wedding day with his wife Anna in the frame. On Instagram, he wrote a long message on how proud he was of Anna for the achievement saying that she will be “one of SpaceX’s first astronauts on Polaris Dawn.”

“Our life stories are not about space and, instead, a love story where the set is space. The day after we met, we worked side by side in a @nasa simulation, and I knew it was meant to be. We were then lucky enough to work at @spacex in neighbouring cubicles. And now, I get to share a lifelong dream of flying to space,” he wrote.

While Anna shared a series of pictures, leading with the one with her current crew and wrote, “I’m excited to embark on a lifelong dream and groundbreaking space mission, which demonstrates the tremendous opportunity for women, mothers, and any human being who dreams of flying to space.”

She also shared her story when she was 11-year-old and her teacher Alison Smith Balch took her on a field trip to Johnson Space Center of NASA. There she experienced “a day in the life of an astronaut and flight controller in Mission Control.” The experience transformed her life and set her, a young girl, on the path of math and engineering.

Anna and Anil Menon are parents to two children–a boy and a girl named Grace Elizabeth. Last year, she shared the picture of her daughter’s birthday and wrote, “And just like that, our baby girl is one…So much love for this girl.”