Pathfinder #0003: Building a Great Crew with Lauren Lyons

Covert art for Pathfinder, Payload's podcast, presented by SpiderOak Mission Systems

Welcome to the third episode of Pathfinder, a weekly show where Payload managing editor and host Ryan Duffy sits down with the top shot-callers in space.

Pathfinder is brought to you by SpiderOak Mission Systems, an industry leader in space cybersecurity. Check out their space cybersecurity white paper.

Joining us this week is Lauren Lyons, a space industry consultant, startup advisor, and STEM evangelist. Lauren is working on a new venture, but most recently, was COO of Firefly Aerospace.

Resume, in brief

Before that, Lauren held senior engineering roles at Blue Origin and SpaceX. While at Blue, Lauren worked on the company’s lunar lander and Orbital Reef programs.

At SpaceX, Lauren worked on the development/certification of Crew Dragon; the launch of Starlink; chief engineering and mission assurance for Falcon 9 and Dragon; and Falcon 9 mission management. Rather casually, she also hosted launch livestreams for a variety of missions, including the Emmy-winning Demo 1. She makes a cameo on Return to Space, the Netflix documentary that aired in April. Lauren estimates these streams were just 5% of her time/duties…so needless to say, she kept busy.

In Pathfinder #0003, Lauren and Ryan discuss:

  • Her winding career path through time and space
  • How working as a medical device R&D engineer helped prepare Lauren for SpaceX
  • Seeing friends on social media celebrate launching their spacecraft on Transporter missions
  • Operational efficiency and seeing SpaceX hit its stride
  • Launching Starlink
  • HLS, Orbital Reef work @ Blue Origin
  • Team Space is “super mission-oriented and mission-driven”
  • Competing with Big Tech for talent
  • The role of company culture in shipping space products successfully
  • Lean startup operations during downturns
  • Life after SpaceX, for Lauren and her coworkers
  • Reducing the barriers to entry for space entrepreneurs
  • The SpaceX mafia and new deeptech startups/verticals
  • What the general public gets wrong about the space sector
  • Lauren & Ryan’s shared love for the Supernatural VR fitness app
  • Moving past “space is hard” 

…and more!

 Where to listen?

🎧 Get Pathfinder #0003 on Spotify
🍎 Listen on Apple Podcasts
💻 Find #0003 online

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