To boldly go: Kristine Larson Davis ’15 and her journey from K-State to NASA
As Kristine Larson Davis ’15 grew up in small-town Galva, Kansas, she looked up at
the stars and dreamed about exploring the universe.
Those far-away stars and planets shining in the night sky seemed a very, very long way from Kansas, but she never let go of her dream.
Her parents would often take her to the Cosmosphere space museum in Hutchinson, Kansas, which helped the wonders of the universe feel just a little bit closer. In middle school, she had the opportunity to attend space camp and heard that one of the best ways to work at NASA was to become an engineer.
“I loved space, and decided then I wanted to become a mechanical engineer to work for NASA one day,” Davis said. “I carried that goal through high school and college, and it helped me get to where I am today.”
Davis currently serves as a spacesuit engineer at NASA, helping to prepare for the Artemis missions. According to NASA, the goal of the Artemis program is to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, eventually taking “the next giant leap,” which is sending astronauts to Mars.
Launching a career
In her role as a spacesuit engineer, Davis is working on the pressure garment of the
Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), which will serve as the spacesuit
for the Artemis missions. Specifically, she is in charge of the helmet; sun visor,
also known as the EVVA (Extravehicular Visor Assembly); and the waist assembly.
“My tasks range from project management and systems engineering, to testing hardware and understanding how well it works for our future astronauts,” she said. “I love that I get to work on the Artemis spacesuit, which will enable future exploration. My favorite days are when I get to be the test subject, and experience what it is like to be in a pressurized spacesuit.”