With her urge to explore and her love for entertaining people, Juniper Jairala once built international theme parks (while secretly performing in samba shows by night). Now she develops rockets and spacecraft (while fire dancing by night). In 2004, she received an MS in aerospace engineering/bioastronautics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since then she has worked in various settings within privatized human spaceflight, including Blue Origin and Andrews Space in Seattle, and X PRIZE Foundation and SpaceX in Los Angeles. While in Seattle she also trained in contemporary dance with the Open Flame Dance Theater.
Jairala currently works at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston as an EVA (extra-vehicular activity) hardware test engineer, a job that finds her scuba diving with astronauts, flying on the parabolic aircraft, developing space suits, bouncing on treadmills, and having a ball. She also works part-time for the Zero Gravity Corporation, coaching customers through awesome experiences in weightlessness. And by night, indeed, she performs with two Houston fire troupes, Zion's Flame and Luminosity.
Another of Jairala's passions is encouraging girls and minorities to pursue technology fields. She volunteers as a mentor to middle and high school students in math, science, and engineering through several Houston programs. She likes showing kids how cool/easy it is to be a geek and how achievable it can be to work at cool places like NASA!
Fire dancer, rocket scientist, and multilingual world traveler, Jairala seeks thrills, fun, and challenges in every aspect of her life. She hopes to go to space one day and bring some glitter along with her.