Nagin Cox
Book Speaker
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Nagin Cox

Fee Range1: $ 3000 - $6000

Spacecraft Operations Engineer, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory


AdventurersSpace ExplorationTeamwork / Team BuildingTechnology




Nagin Cox

Nagin CoxSpacecraft Operations Engineer, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Nagin has been exploring since she decided as a teenager that she wanted to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Growing up as a young woman in a multicultural environment, it was already clear how many ways humans find to divide themselves; robotic space exploration helps the world “look up”and remember that we are one world.

As a spacecraft operations engineer for over 20 years, Nagin had held leadership and system engineering positions on multiple NASA/JPL interplanetary robotic missions including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Kepler exoplanet hunter, InSight, and the Mars Curiosity Rover (MSL).

She is currently a Mission Lead on the Curiosity Rover that landed on Mars in August of 2012 and has been exploring ever since. She is also involved in the MOXIE (Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment) team which will prototype making oxygen on Mars from the martian atmosphere, and the Asteroid Redirect Mission.

Nagin’s honors include being the namesake for Asteroid 14061. She has received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals for her work on the Mars Exploration Rover Team and the Galileo Mission. She has also received the Bruce Murray Award for Exceptional Public Outreach and has been a nominee for the Women at Work Medal of Excellence. She is a U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) SLATE STEM Speaker and has spoken to live and television audiences around the US, Canada, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and South Asia on the stories of the people behind the missions.

She is a past member of Cornell University’s President’s Council for Cornell Women and has served on the Boards of Griffith Observatory (FOTO) and Impact Personal Safety: Self-Defense & Empowerment for Women.  She is involved as a judge for the Entertainment Industries Council of depiction of STEM in movies & TV.

Before her time at JPL, she served for 6 years in the US Air Force including duty as a Space Operations Officer NORAD/US Space Command. Nagin holds engineering degrees from Cornell University and the Air Force Institute of Technology as well as a psychology degree from Cornell. Sometimes she is not sure which one she uses more the engineering degree or the psychology degree!  


The Diplomacy of Space Exploration: An unexpected journey of sharing NASA stories worldwide

Nagin has wanted to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on missions of robotic space exploration since she was 14. When she was fortunate enough to achieve that goal, she began using her spare time to share stories with the US taxpayers of what their money is buying and what these missions are really like and what they achieve. Those popular stories unexpectedly grew into opportunities to share NASA stories worldwide as a STEM speaker for the US State Department. She found herself with the chance to see NASA’s technical accomplishments also translate into an enduring ability to inspire and motivate people all over the world.  Nagin has since had the opportunity to speak about NASA and the peaceful exploration of space in amazing places such as Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey, Bosnia, Nothern Ireland, and Brazil and has been amazed at the power of NASA’s exploration story to cut through other political and cultural issues and remind us what humankind can do together. These are the stories of the space missions that cut through earthly political and cultural issues and make us rethink our place in the universe. Our robotic exploration of the solar system and beyond symbolizes all that humankind can do together.


Living on Mars TIME

This popular presentation highlights the challenges that ensue when humans try to live and work on two planets. The martian day is ~40 minutes longer than the earth day so the humans operating rovers on Mars will come into work 40 minutes later every day for 3 months when the missions first land on Mars.  If you think working and communicating with people overseas in other timezones is hard – you’ll understand some of the instant complications in communication and lifestyles for the engineer, scientists and their impacted families.  Nagin has experienced working on Mars Time for 3 out of the 4 US rover missions to mars. She has given this talk for TEDx and always enjoys the chance to have more time than 12 minutes to talk about the humorous side of basically moving one time zone every day while staying in synch with Mars Time. The human side of working on other planets is already starting.


Finding Earth 2.0 & proTecting EARTH 1.0: A LEGACY TO THE NEXT GENERATION

For decades, NASA has explored the solar system and beyond in a quest to leave our children a greater understanding of their place in the universe. This research – along with other national agencies- has built a legacy of recognizing climate change, exploring our oceans, and learning about other planets to help care for this one. We are taking the first steps into finding other earth like planets and sending people to other planets. Nagin has participated in many of the robotic explorations making this legacy possible.


SYSTEM Engineering, LEADERSHIP, STEM, INNOVATION and living in the land of Big Bang Theory

Nagin has had the privilege of being a system engineer specializing in operations in the US Military, the private sector and for NASA. The cultures are both the same and radically different. Sending missions to other plans are exercises in engineering and innovation that apply to space as well as earth challenges. Nagin has unintentionally amassed a body of lessons learned in leadership, system engineering and STEM as she has had the chance to work alongside some of the worlds brightest engineers and scientists. She has both engineering degrees and a degree in psychology and she sometimes amusingly is not sure which one she uses more as she works with these amazing innovators.


Robotic Space Exploration: It’s Not What You Think

Nagin has been working at NASA’s legendary Jet Propulsion Laboratory since the 1990s and has been part of some of the most exciting moments in space exploration such as the landings of the Curiosity Mars Rover and the Spirit and Opportunity Rovers. These missions are filled with stories of what happens when NASA engineers dedicate their professional lives to building/launching and operating these missions while also trying to balance families and personal lives. Robotic space missions are defined by the passion of the people who build them, launch them, and send them out into the dark void to make great discoveries. Nagin has more humorous and light-hearted stories of the people behind the missions than there is time to tell.


Dare to Do Mighty Things: Exploring Beyond the Earth

Since the beginning of time, people have looked up at the night sky and wondered at the frontiers of our knowledge. While there are examples of solitary human exploration, most endeavors that push our boundaries involve teams of people working together for a common goal. Robotic space missions are no different- they are defined by the passion of the people who build them, launch them, and send them out into the dark void to make great discoveries.












To book this speaker please visit or call 508.485.8996