NASA ATV Launch Package Manager
To be an astronaut
Matrouska dolls from trips to Russia.
Favorite Web Site:
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
"Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Favorite Sports Team:
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Family Affair |
For Kathy Laurini, an American, life is an international
affair. As manager of NASA's office in the Netherlands, she's
responsible for the integration of The
Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) that will travel to the International
Space Station. At home, she's a parent to three children--all trilingual--with
her husband Daniele Laurini, an Italian, who manages the Cupola
Project for the
European Space Agency (ESA).
of the World
Her children (Elisa - 8, John - 5, and Max - 3)
are excited that both parents are working on the station. "Sometimes
when their friends find out what we do, they immediately ask, 'Are
your parents astronauts?'," said Laurini. She's amazed at how well
they've been able to pick up languages. They speak English to her,
Italian with her husband, and Dutch at their local school. "I think
it provides them a real gift--I'm happy to be able to give them
this opportunity to learn about languages and cultures, because
I think as the world becomes a smaller place, and as they get older,
their comfort with language and multicultural environments will
help them choose the place in the world that's best for them. They're
really more positioned to be citizens of the world."
NASA engineer by day and mother "24/7", Laurini
keeps very busy and she loves it. After watching Neil Armstrong
walk on the Moon in 1969, she set her sights on the space industry.
When she joined NASA almost 20 years ago there were fewer women,
but it's not the boy's club that some might think.
Actually, "the culture at NASA is more of a big, happy family, one
big team." Laurini credits NASA with doing a tremendous job of hiring
and promoting women. "Anything that I felt I wanted to achieve,
NASA has made it easy for me to achieve." She thinks it's different
abroad. "Women are not as well integrated into the workplace here
in Europe or in Japan as they are in the United States." The Netherlands
facility is staffed mostly by Italians, Spanish, French and Germans.
"Getting women to leave their country, to leave their families,
has been a harder challenge for Europeans than getting men to do
it. When we all cooperate and work together, we can make it a better
facility than any one nation could operating on its own."