Senior Project Engineer
The Aerospace Corporation
Recently acknowledged by Forbes Magazine amongst the world’s youngest and most impactful individuals in the field of science, Kenneth F. Harris II is known for delivering thoughtful and dynamic leadership on programs of critical national and international importance.
Mr. Harris is a Senior Project Engineer for the NASA J2 Joint Polar Satellite System and HERMES missions. In this role, Mr. Harris is responsible for developing procedures and implementing processes to defend on orbit satellites from physical and cyber threats. The attainment of which leads to the successful data collection and orbital life of the mission. The satellite asset protection procedures and analysis will allow spacecrafts to be monitored for hackers and anomalous threats from the designated Operations Control Center.
Prior to this role, Mr. Harris served as the Deputy Lead Integration Engineer for the James Webb Space Telescope’s Integrated Science Instrument Module Electronic Components (ICE). Mr. Harris led a team of 10 engineers to successfully integrate, the main electronic payload of JWST, to the Backplane of the Optical Telescope Element (OTE) Primary Mirror. This was performed in North Americas largest cleanroom, the Space Systems Development And Integration Facility (SSDIF). Mr. Harris’ leadership on the JWST program ranks him as one of the youngest African Americans in NASA’s history to lead an integration effort on a multi-billion dollar satellite mission.
Since joining NASA in 2008 as an intern, Mr. Harris held positions of increasing responsibility including; Mechanical Engineer, Integration & Testing Lab Manager, Deputy Lead Integration Engineer, Senior Systems Engineer, and Database Lead Engineer.
Mr. Harris’ honors and awards extend beyond his professional service to recognition of his tremendous leadership in the STEM field and international community. A proud son of an Engineer Mr. Harris champions the importance of early STEM exposure and engagement. In 2018 Mr. Harris delivered a TEDx Talk to over 500+ students concerning the power of mentorship and guidance. He was internationally recognized in the Project Management Institute Future 50 in 2020 for his incredible leadership at NASA on the local and international level . Mr. Harris has also appeared as a featured keynote speaker at a number of professional events, conferences, & symposia.
Mr. Harris graduated with honors from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering; he then completed a Master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University in Engineering Management and is currently a doctoral candidate at George Washington University.
A lifelong Maryland resident Mr. Harris, his wife & their two dogs reside in Maryland. When not leading space programs or inspiring students to realize their full potential, Mr. Harris enjoys fine cuisine, traveling internationally, and owns and operates a non-profit organization.
Symposium Highlight: Engineering a Launch
Originally aired: March 24, 2021