Operations Manager, Ground Enterprise Systems Operating Unit, Space Systems Sector, Northrop Grumman
Lauren Smith is the Operations Manager for Northrop Grumman’s Ground Enterprise Systems Operating Unit. Across this portfolio of 13 programs, she plays a key role in all aspects of program execution, day to day business operations, and strategic planning. Lauren recently led the COVID-19 Case Response team for the Integrated National Systems Business Unit and was also Chair of the company’s first-ever Systems and
Software Engineering Symposium. Preceding her current role, Lauren was a Program Manager in Resiliency and Rapid Prototyping working strategic space captures. She was also the Mechanical Test Engineering Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) program and was previously a member of the JWST Integration & Test (I&T) Senior Staff as the I&T lead for Nonexplosive Actuators (NEAs) and Deployments.
Prior to JWST, Lauren held multiple diverse roles at Northrop Grumman in air and in space. As a program manager in NG Next, she led rapid design and strategy development for new space systems and small satellites. Lauren was also the program manager of Quad Cup, the 2016 Sector Innovation Challenge. Under her leadership, Quad Cup brought together employees across the country to compete in a quadcopter sporting event demonstrating critical technologies such as GPS-denied navigation and collision avoidance.
Before joining Northrop Grumman, Lauren worked at NASA Glenn Research Center in the Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) Lab. She also conducted her thesis work at Glenn, specializing in mechanisms and robotics. This work contributed to being named one of Aviation Week’s Twenty20s. Lauren graduated from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering, and a minor in political science.
Lauren has held numerous leadership roles on the Executive Committee of the Space Generation Advisory Council – an international non-profit that represents young space professionals to the United Nations. She co-founded Caroline’s Project, a nonprofit that sends girls to STEM summer camps, and was recognized as a 2019 Future Space Leader Grant winner. Lauren has provided industry thought leadership through participation in over 50 panels, keynotes, and interviews in domestic and international forums. She currently serves on the Space Foundation Board of Directors, the Case Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the Industry Advisory Board for the CWRU mechanical and aerospace engineering department.
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