Aprille Joy Ericsson

NASA NBL for Instrument Systems and Tech. Division

During her 27+ year tenure with NASA, Dr. Aprille Ericsson has held numerous positions. In 2017, Dr. Aprille Ericsson assumed the position of New Business Lead (NBL) for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Instrument Systems and Technology Division. In this role she seeks to foster government partnerships that enable industry and small businesses to collaborate with universities, to compete for opportunities to solve strategic R&D challenges faced by various government agencies within the United States. In her role as NBL, she serves as engineering representative on the Astrophysics, Heliophysics, Planetary and Earth Science and Cross-Cutting Technology Lines of Business. Just prior to that position, she served as the Capture Manager for a proposed Astrophysics mid-sized Class Explorer, called STAR-X. Prior to that proposal development, Dr. Aprille Ericsson served as the NASA GSFC Program Manager for Small Business and Innovative Research in the Innovative Technology Partnerships Office. Formerly, she served as the Deputy to the Chief Technologist for the Engineering and Technology Directorate with a focus on cubesat and smallsat mission development. She has also served at NASA HQs as a Program Executive (PE) for Earth Science, and a Business Executive for Space Science.

For 10 years, Dr. Aprille Ericsson was an Instrument Project Manager (IPM) and led spaceflight mission teams and proposal developments for various instruments that include the Near-Infrared Spectrograph on the James Webb Space Telescope; the Project Engineer for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, which launched April 2009 on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter; and Instrument Proposal Manager for a Mars mission, SCIM. For 3.5 years she served as the Acting IPM and Deputy IPM for ICESat-2’s sole instrument the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS, launched 2018), a $500M LIDAR instrument which continues to provide important observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height begun by ICESat (-I), on which Dr. Aprille Ericsson was PE in 2003. Dr. Aprille Ericsson first joined GSFC as an Attitude Control Systems analyst, where she developed practical control methods and analyzed structural dynamics for several spacecraft missions and concepts.

She has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at several Universities. Currently, she sits on Academic boards at the National Academies (Board of Higher Education and Workforce), MIT (Industry Advisory Council for Minority Education), Chair of the Advisory Board for Howard University (HU) Department of Mechanical Engineering and previously as a HU Trustee and Blacks at MIT. She is lead Advisor for the DMV NSBE Jr. Chapter at HU. Dr. Aprille Ericsson has served as an MIT Education counselor for the almost 15 years. She has also been a proposal reviewer for NSF and NASA.

Dr. Aprille Ericsson received her Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from MIT. She received her Master of Engineering and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at HU with an Aerospace option. Her graduate school research at HU was developing control methods for orbiting large space platforms like ISS.

Dr. Aprille Ericsson has been honored with numerous awards. Some of the most prestigious are from the Western Society of Engineers, “The 2016 Washington Award”, and The Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta PI, Distinguished Alumnus. She is proud to be the first (African American) female to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from HU; the first American to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, the Aerospace option from HU; and the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at NASA GSFC.