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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Featured Story

Rosario deploys IE skills in Air Force missile warning program 

Captain Natasha RosarioWherever Natasha Rosario goes, success seems to follow.

A 2008 graduate of Kansas State University, Rosario serves as a captain in the United States Air Force. Stationed at Buckley Air Force Base (AFB) in Colorado, she leverages the industrial engineering training she received at K-State to manage military assets worth billions and safeguard our nation.  

Capt. Rosario joined the Air Force shortly after graduating and has since been involved in various operations for the Space-Based Infrared Systems, or SBIRS, a satellite surveillance system capable of detecting nearly anything with an infrared signature around the world.  SBIRS was primarily designed as a missile warning system, providing infrared surveillance for the protection of U.S. soil and deployed troops.

Recently, Capt. Rosario has been in the midst of a major consolidation project as the Air Force brings operations for three SBIRS satellite constellations, previously operated separately from Buckley AFB, Schriever AFB and Boulder, Colorado, together under one roof.  

The new ground system, dubbed Block 10 Increment 2, underwent various capability tests before Command and Control was successfully transferred on March 21.  

As a Flight Commander in the 2d Space Warning Squadron—the largest squadron in Air Force Space Command—Capt. Rosario helped orchestrate the move, ensuring the smooth transition of people, processes, documentation, training, equipment and facilities, all while maintaining day-to-day operations.  

“This was a major milestone for us,” Capt. Rosario said. “A big component of industrial and systems engineering is being better managers of the resources we have. With this project, those resources include over $20 billion in satellites alone and another $8 billion for the ground system.”

According to Air Force Space Command, the consolidation will enhance SBIRS performance capabilities in missile warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence.

Her contributions to the project helped earn Capt. Rosario the Officer of the Year 2015 award for her squadron, while her team has garnered four Team of the Quarter wins within their Operations Group (#1/33).

Earning accolades is nothing new for Capt. Rosario. At K-State, she was a finalist for St. Patricia, was named the ROTC Distinguished Graduate, and won the Medal of Military Excellence, which honors the top cadet of the year among all ROTC commissionees at K-State.

The Block 10 project is one of many successes Capt. Rosario has had since joining the Air Force. While on her first assignment at Los Angeles Air Force Base, she helped organize the assembly, testing and launch of several SBIRS satellites, including a $3 billion GEO-2 satellite that launched in 2012.

As Capt. Rosario says, there’s never a dull moment in SBIRS.

The same could be said about her life outside of work. She loves living in downtown Denver, and fills her time with adventures such as rock climbing, yoga, dance classes, and singing the national anthem at events. This June, she took a month-long backpacking trip through Argentina, Patagonia and Chile.

After finishing her assignment at Buckley AFB, she plans to apply her experience and IE degree at a follow on assignment in Chantilly, near Washington, D.C., working launch operations for the National Reconnaissance Office.