Sarah Gillis
Sarah gillis during spacex crew 1 mission (cropped).jpg
Sarah Levine

1994 (age 27–28)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Colorado Boulder (Aerospace engineering)
Space career
Current occupation
SpaceX Lead Operations Engineer
Time in space
MissionsPolaris Dawn

Sarah Gillis is an American engineer who has been selected for the Polaris Dawn mission as a mission specialist.[2] If the mission goes ahead as planned in late 2022, she will become the youngest American to reach orbit.

Early life and education

Gillis graduated from Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, Colorado in June, 2012. She obtained a degree in aerospace engineering from University of Colorado Boulder on the advice of her mentor, former NASA astronaut Joseph R. Tanner.[3]


In 2015, while at the University of Colorado Boulder, Gillis began an internship at SpaceX, working on human-in-the-loop testing of the Dragon spacecraft before moving full-time to the astronaut training program.[citation needed]

She is a lead space operations engineer at SpaceX, responsible for overseeing the astronaut training program for the company's Crew Dragon vehicles. She prepared NASA astronauts for the first Demo-2 and Crew-1 missions and more recently directly trained Inspiration4 astronauts, the first all-civilian crew to go into orbit. Gillis is an experienced Mission Control Operator, who has supported real-time operations for Dragon's cargo resupply missions to and from the International Space Station as a Navigation Officer and as Crew Operations and Resources Engineer (CORE) for crew Dragon missions, the SpaceX equivalent of the NASA CAPCOM role.[4]

Gillis has been selected as a Mission Specialist on the Polaris Dawn mission, commanded by Jared Isaacman.[5]

Media Coverage

Gillis appears in episodes 3, 4 and 5 in the Netflix series Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space.


  1. ^ Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space, episode 3. Netflix. September 13, 2021. Quotation begins at 03:25. Retrieved May 10, 2022. My name is Sarah Gillis, and I'm 27...
  2. ^ "Jared Isaacman, who led the first all-private astronaut mission to orbit, has commissioned 3 more flights from SpaceX". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  3. ^ "Shooting for the Stars: SMWS Alum and SpaceX Engineer Sarah Gillis". Shining Mountain Waldorf School. September 28, 2021. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  4. ^ Jiménez, Jesus (September 15, 2021). "Sarah Gillis will be a key voice in the astronauts' ears as they head to orbit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  5. ^ ""SpaceX Tourists Will Make Attempt at Spacewalk During Flight"", The New York Times, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved February 16, 2022

See also