• Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

News Eyeo

All Important News

Stay-at-Home Mom Reignites Career as JWST Mission Planner


Sep 9, 2023

Kari Bosley, the lead mission planner for the James Webb Space Telescope at the Space Telescope Science Institute, is responsible for scheduling when giant satellites will make contact with the telescope as it moves through outer space. Bosley’s journey to her current position has been marked by overcoming gender stereotypes and pursuing her passion for space exploration.

Growing up, Bosley aspired to become a pilot like her idol, Amelia Earhart. However, after needing glasses in fifth grade, she realized she couldn’t meet the visual requirements for flying. Bosley then became interested in becoming an air traffic controller but was told that it wasn’t a suitable career for a female. Despite these setbacks, Bosley’s interest in space was sparked when she learned about the Challenger mission, which aimed to send a teacher to the moon. This tragedy became her first opportunity to learn more about space.

After considering a career in medicine and starting a family, Bosley eventually returned to work when her children were older. Thirteen years ago, she joined the grants department at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which supports NASA’s various space missions. Over time, Bosley transitioned into her current role as a mission planner for the James Webb Space Telescope. Initially unfamiliar with the telescope, Bosley quickly developed a passion for her work and the importance of scheduling its activities.

As a mission planner, Bosley collaborates with another planner to schedule the telescope’s normal activities during each pass. Attention to detail and organization are key requirements for this role, as very little can be done spontaneously during these missions. Bosley’s responsibility also includes ensuring the telescope aligns with the Deep Space Network, which receives data and photographs from the craft. Although her work may be perceived as mundane by some, Bosley finds it fascinating, which has inspired her to return to school part-time to pursue a degree in systems engineering.

Bosley acknowledges that her career path may not fit the typical astronomer or scientist mold, but she takes pride in her ability to play a role in the important discoveries made by the telescope. Through her work on the James Webb Space Telescope, Bosley has realized that she can indeed pursue anything she desires, regardless of her gender. She appreciates being part of a diverse team with individuals from different backgrounds and roles who collaborate to ensure the mission’s success.

As a former stay-at-home mom, Bosley considers herself fortunate to have had the opportunity to revive her career and receive support from her children. She has no plans to stop working anytime soon, as she loves what she does and feels privileged to work with a team that accepts and respects her unique attributes. Bosley sees herself as proof that gender should not be a barrier to pursuing one’s dreams in the space industry.

By Editor

Leave a Reply