Employee Profile: Adam Hadaller

Meet Adam Hadaller, Mission Director for Spaceflight. 


Q: Describe what you do for Spaceflight.

A: I’m ultimately responsible for all aspects of my assigned launch mission from preliminary mission planning to putting hardware on the launch vehicle for flight, through the launch providing on-orbit support and coordination. Throughout all phases of the mission, I work with our customers, launch providers, and vendors to ensure all hardware is on time and ready for flight. In addition to working with our customers and launch providers, mission managers are responsible for schedules, budgets, procedures, logistics, regulatory compliance, etc. to bring the mission to a successful completion.

Q: What are you working on now? 

A: Most recently I have been working on our upcoming SHERPA mission, which is manifested on a SpaceX Falcon 9, launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The SHERPA spacecraft is a free-flying deployment platform, which will carry 89 discrete spacecraft into orbit atop the Falcon 9. Once SHERPA is separated, it activates and deploys our customers’ spacecraft, enabling them to complete their individual missions, such as remote sensing, on-orbit experiments, technology demonstrations, etc.

Q: What interests you about space?

A: Like most engineers, I love to solve problems. The problems faced in the business of putting an object into orbit atop of a controlled explosion then operating said object on-orbit are the most interesting kind. I really love this work.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

A: I spend my time off at home with my two kids, wife, and our huge dog. As if life isn’t crazy enough, we’re having another kid just in time for the upcoming launch. I like to spend one or two Sundays a month running my smoker to cook chickens, turkeys, ribs, brisket. I use an offset cooker feeding it chunks of hickory or oak from early in the morning until the food is done. On weekends, during the summer the smoker is the same as the oven in the kitchen. With whatever time is left, I sneak into my office to play video games.

Q: Star Wars, Star Trek or The Martian?

A: Star Wars, definitely. I appreciate Star Trek; however, I didn’t start watching Star Trek until recently with the new movies, so it might be a sacrilege that I have just committed. The Martian is for reading, not watching, much like Game of Thrones.

Q: If you were to mentor someone who wanted to do what you do, what advice would you give them?

A: My advice would be to take school seriously, work hard, and check every detail. Don’t shy away from hard problems and never be afraid to ask questions. Present your material with confidence.

Q: Would you interested in going to space someday?

A: My flippant answer is that I’d need to increase my life insurance policy, but yeah, let’s do it.

Q: What’s one thing that most people at Spaceflight don’t know about you?

A: I am growing my launch beard…everyone knows that, it’s huge. I call it a launch beard, but I’m starting to become attached to it, so it’s probably not going away.

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