Krystal Puga is a Spacecraft Systems Engineer with Northrop Grumman Space Systems based in Los Angeles, CA. She is the hardware deputy manager for the 178 deployment mechanisms that will unfurl the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) once it is in space. JWST is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, its mission is to observe the formation of galaxies, understand how stars are born, examine the makeup of exoplanets light years away, and search for the very first light at the beginning of the universe. Before joining JWST she lead the environmental requirements team on both the NPOESS and DWSS weather satellites to ensure the spacecraft would survive the extreme environments of space.
Her passion is in space education. As a founder of the Northrop Grumman High School Innovation Challenge she developed several engineering competitions to promote STEM to middle and high school students. She extended Northrop’s STEM outreach to target underserved communities by developing the STEM High School Internship Program for students from lower income families. She previously served as the president of the Los Angles Mars Society, and created the annual Mars DAY STEM Initiative. Krystal has also served as a Hispanic Hero for the Los Angeles Hispanic Youth Institute since 2009. Krystal is a first generation Latina from Tulare CA, an agricultural city in the San Joaquin Valley. She holds a Masters of Science in Astronautical Engineering from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida.