Podcast: Shooting For The Moon with Janet Petro ’81

Category: Grad News
Class Years:

This episode features an interview with Janet Petro, Director at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center, and West Point Class of 1981.

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Janet began her professional career as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army after graduating in 1981 from West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. She was in the second class of West Point graduates to include women.

Prior to being named Director at the Kennedy Space Center, Janet served as the deputy director since April 2007. During her tenure, she served a 12-month appointment at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as the deputy associate administrator and acting director for the Office of Evaluation.

Prior to joining NASA, Janet served in various management positions for Science Applications International Corporation and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Corporation.

In this episode, Janet talks about her journey from West Point cadet to her current role as Director of the Kennedy Space Center, her fascinating conversation with Elon Musk and partnering with SpaceX, and what to expect from NASA in the near future.

**This episode does not imply Federal endorsement.

Episode Timestamps

(02:09) Janet’s background and experience at West Point
(10:04) Current role as Director of the Kennedy Space Center
(17:40) Mentorship and advice for cadets
(22:06) Graduation and becoming an aviator
(37:20) Upcoming NASA missions
(39:33) Partnering with SpaceX and speaking with Elon
(46:55) Astronauts and traveling into space
(52:09) Final thoughts


Janet Petro’s LinkedIn

“I think West Point was instrumental. I often talk about West Point as being sort of the foundational experience for who I am today. I was 17 years old when I went there. I had a, you know, handful of jobs, but nothing so immersive an experience as going to a place like West Point where, again, it’s a very intensive training process. There’s the academics, there’s of course the military training, and of course all the stuff we go out in the field and learn to do. But what it did, you know, when you’re young and you’re 17, you’re really not that confident, you really don’t know what you can and you can’t do. But going to West Point and learning ‘cooperate and graduate’, like nobody did anything on their own. You survived by cooperating together on how to get things done. And so I think that value of learning how to be a good teammate, a good team member, was one of the most important things I learned there.”

— Janet Petro ’81

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The WPAOG Podcast is a strategic initiative focused on tailored audible communications to further inform Graduates on current AOG projects, events, and USMA updates. This customized content is mainly for USMA Alumni and the West Point Community solely produced by the West Point Association of Graduates. The Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Audible, YouTube Music, and iHeartRadio.

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