MiMi Aung

2022 Distinguished Alumni Award

For technical contributions and innovation in spacecraft, autonomy in space and for leadership on the NASA helicopter Ingenuity.

MiMi Aung

MiMi Aung

BSEE '88, MS '90

Amazon Project Kuiper

Seattle, WA

MiMi Aung is director of program management for Project Kuiper, an Amazon initiative to increase broadband access through a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit. She joined the program in 2021, and is highly motivated by its mission extend high-quality internet access to more places, including unserved and underserved communities around the world.

Prior to Amazon, Ms. Aung spent more than three decades at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where she started her career working on the signal processing algorithms and continued into the implementation of engineering systems for deep space communication. She took on different roles during her time at JPL, including space flight programs, Deep Space Network projects, technology development, and organizational line management. She engaged in various technical disciplines including: autonomous systems; spacecraft guidance, navigation & control; multiple-spacecraft formation flying; and deep space signal processing and communications. During this time, Ms. Aung became passionate about advancing autonomous capabilities of space-based systems and focused her work on incorporating first-of-its-kind capabilities into future NASA projects.

In 2014, Ms. Aung became project manager for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL, where she led the team from the early stages of development through the initial flights on Mars. On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made the first ever rotorcraft flight at Mars – another American “Wright Brothers” moment, this time on another planet. As of March 2022, Ingenuity continues to fly far beyond its first flight, with 20 flights accomplished and more planned for the future.

Ms. Aung holds Bachelor of Science (1988) and Master of Science (1990) degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her M.S. degree focused on Signal Processing and Communications, including a thesis: “A Global Rank-Reduction Method for Simultaneous Amplitude and Frequency Tracking of Multiple Time-Varying Harmonics.”

Current as of 2022.