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  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2017

  • University of Colorado Boulder, Aerospace Engineering, BS/MS '19

  • Host Institution: Virgin Orbit

  • Mentor: Serina Diniega

Christine Reilly is an engineer in Advanced Development Programs at Blue Origin, working on the Blue Moon lunar lander. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2019 with concurrent Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering, with a focus in bioastronautics and a certificate in satellite systems design.

Though she loved space and science fiction as a child, Christine traces her passion for working in the aerospace industry to her enrollment in the NASA WISH (Women In STEM High school) Aerospace Scholars program. While inventing concepts for interplanetary spacecraft and moon bases, Christine saw that by becoming an engineer, she could help the future that science fiction promised to become a reality for the kids of tomorrow.

As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Christine interned at Virgin Orbit on the propulsion team, working on the liquid rocket engines NewtonThree and NetwonFour. She made a graphical user interface for the engine balance tool, designed and assembled articles for component testing, and modeled development hardware in CAD software.

On campus, Christine worked as a researcher in the Autonomous Vehicle Systems Lab, satellite ground station engineer at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, and teaching assistant for the aerospace senior capstone sequence. She has been involved in the CU Boulder jazz ensemble, intramural badminton, Alternative Spring Breaks volunteer organization, Engineering Honors Program, and Norlin Scholars. In previous internships, she built a modular Hall-effect thruster at The Aerospace Corporation in 2016 and worked on advanced development at Blue Origin in 2018.

In addition to the Fellowship, Christine has been recognized as an Astronaut Scholar, one of AIAA and Aviation Week’s “20 Twenties,” and is a two-time winner of the international COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling. Her goal is to further human exploration of space so that someday her dream role of “starship chief engineer” will be a real job.