Melissa (Harness) Flores - Honored in 2019

  • photo of Melissa Harness Flores Olathe North High School Class of 1998

    (April 1, 1980 —        )

    From her recognition as valedictorian of the Class of 1998 to her commission as a U.S. Naval officer aboard the USS Constitution, Melissa has displayed the skills of self-motivation, resourcefulness and reliability. She attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Naval ROTC full scholarship, and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ocean engineering. Melissa deployed in 2004 and served more than five years in the U.S. Navy, including combat systems division officer onboard the USS Preble and deployment to the Middle East. She was selected as unmanned underwater vehicle officer in charge of testing new drone systems for the Navy, and received two medals from the Navy before being honorably discharged. In 2007, Melissa became a civil servant for the NASA where she worked on the Orion spacecraft as safety and mission assurance engineer. She serves as safety lead for the Orion crew and service modules and works with teams across the nation and in partnership with the European Space Agency on human spaceflight standards, design and testing. Melissa’s career honors include the Space Flight Awareness Award presented at NASA’s 60th anniversary event.