- A lead space operations engineer at SpaceX, she works to develop crew operations and serves as mission director and crew communicator.
SpaceX engineer Anna Menon, wife of NASA astronaut candidate Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Anil Menon has been chosen as part of the four-member crew for a special space mission, announced earlier this week. The mission, earlier named Polaris Program was announced by billionaire Jared Issacman, who led the world’s first all-private space crew into orbit last year.
Isaacman, the founder and CEO of American payment processing company Shift4, who had commanded the Inspiration4 mission, in a press release, described the program as “a first-of-its-kind effort to rapidly advance human spaceflight capabilities while continuing to raise funds and awareness for important causes here on Earth.” It will consist of up to three human spaceflight missions that will demonstrate new technologies, conduct extensive research, and ultimately culminate in the first flight of SpaceX’s Starship with humans on board.
Anna Menon is a Lead Space Operations Engineer at SpaceX. She works to develop crew operations and serves as Mission Director, as well as a crew communicator. She has been a part of various operations such as Demo-2, Crew-1, CRS-22, and CRS-23 as the mission controller. Earlier, she used to work with NASA as a biomedical flight controller for the International Space Station for seven years.
Her husband, Anil Menon, a surgeon in the U.S. Air Force, was among 10 members of NASA’s 2021 astronaut class, who are being trained to fly missions to the International Space Station and to the moon under Artemis, and eventually onto Mars. He is actively practicing emergency medicine. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Ukrainian and Indian immigrants, according to his NASA profile. The Menons have two children.
But the couple didn’t meet at NASA, and they say on their website that it was at an Oscars party that a colleague threw in 2013 when they were first introduced. “We danced to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”, talked for a long time, and only then discovered that we practically worked side by side at NASA,” they say. They eventually became “best friends” and then Menon proposed on their anniversary “at the very place we met.”