• Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2018

  • Florida Polytechnic University, Mechanical Engineering, '19

  • Host Institution: Generation Orbit

  • Mentor: Nick Skytland

Payton Barnwell is a human spaceflight focused mechanical engineer with a degree from Florida Polytechnic University (’19). Her passion for space exploration has brought unique opportunities such as working on innovative solutions to traditional astronaut nutrition at NASA Kennedy Space Center, designing an Air Force designated X-Plane hypersonic research program at Generation Orbit as a 2018 Brooke Owens Fellow, and working on SpaceShip2 in the Mojave Desert with The Spaceship Company. Outside of internships, Payton received funding through the NASA Florida Space Research Program for her ideas on radiation resistance, worked in a chemistry lab on campus to assist with landfill water filtration, and created her own research course which worked to incorporate the humanities into traditional undergraduate STEM design courses. Payton was co-founder and president of the Florida Poly ASTRO + SEDS clubs, co-founder and Executive Director of Splash at Poly, and an avid science communicator in the Tampa Bay area.

Payton’s diverse aerospace experiences and research have shown her how important the cross-pollination of ideas and backgrounds is to move industries and societies forward. She hopes to utilize her multidisciplinary background and perspectives to improve humankind's experiences on Earth and in space. Through professional experiences at work or roles such as Yuri’s Night Ambassador (KSC 2018), she hopes to share her stories and passion for the industry with audiences of all levels.

Payton’s side hobbies include science communication on Twitter, year-long recruitment for the Brooke Owens Fellowship, and constantly attempting to be successful at homemade pasta making. You can currently find her in the Mojave Desert working on SpaceShip2 at The Spaceship Company.