As the U.S. Space Force nears its two-year anniversary this December, Thousand Oaks’ own Olivia Krause, Space Force mission integrator, is working on her third mission launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base.
“The older I get, the more I realize that living in America is a huge blessing, and it’s a huge privilege to live in this free country,” Krause says. “I realize that this is not universal across the globe. Our country is very, very special. It’s humbling and an honor to serve this country, and I am willing to fight for its freedoms because they come at a cost.”
Krause’s Air Force Academy 2020 class was the first to commission straight into Space Force, and Krause jumped at the chance to experience the incipient stages of this new military branch.
“I was curious about what the Space Force had to offer because it was new,” Krause says. “I knew I had a lot of opportunity for career growth and to see and experience new things, and I thought it could be a great privilege to join the service at its very origin.”
Krause, who attended Bethany Christian School and LOMSAA Christian middle school, and graduated from Grace Brethren High School, became curious about the military academies when she saw a fellow student working through the long application process. A year after graduating high school in 2015, Krause received acceptance to the Air Force Academy and headed to Colorado Springs.
“The military was always in the back of my mind,” says Krause, who majored in biology and minored in French. “I wanted opportunities to travel. I eventually would like to go into medicine and be in the medical field, to help, specifically, American soldiers — that was a big drawing point. … The opportunities at the Air Force Academy are incredible, so I wanted to take part in those.”
Today, as a mission integrator at the Vandenberg Space Force Base, the newly married 24-year-old serves as the interface between stakeholders for each launch. She makes sure they are all in the right room at the right time, completing the right tasks. Sometimes the missions require she be in the office at 2:30 a.m. because “the rocket has to launch when the rocket needs to launch. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts, so we conform our schedule to what the mission needs.”
For her first mission launch — a national security operation — she served as an assistant. Then she completed her first launch as the mission integrator for the Landsat 9 satellite launch on September 27.
“I was very proud of our team and how we had all come together to make the launch happen,” says Krause, who watched liftoff from the screen in the console building with the launch team.
Her husband, stationed at Edward Air Force Base, and other family members came to watch the launch — the result of months of hard work by thousands of people.
“That was really special to see my whole family involved and excited and watching this launch,” says Krause, who loves spending time with her nieces and nephews.
As exciting as the space industry is, the lifelong Christian has higher priorities.
“My faith, my family and then my country” in that order, she says. The couple attends church in Thousand Oaks when they are in town. Olivia also holds her local friends close.
“I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without [my friends],” Krause adds. “They’re like sisters to me. I have a few friends who I grew up with in Ventura County — they were in my wedding — and then a few friends from the Air Force Academy that have gotten me through some really tough days. I feel very blessed — I have a lot of incredible people in my life, and I wouldn’t be who I am, where I am, and doing what I’m doing without them. That’s a huge part of me.”
Krause is at work on the next project — the NROL-91 mission — which will be her first national security mission as the mission integrator.
“I am looking forward to the fact that it’s a national space security launch,” she says of the assignment. “The mission, the payload, is bigger, arguably more important because it’s for our national security, so I’m really looking forward to that aspect of it.”
Space Force emphasizes the need for creative and diverse ideas to counter ”the threat that is emerging, like Russia and China,” Krause says.
She is committed to doing her part to preserve the nation she has grown to love for its rarity in championing freedom.
“The Lord has given me an able body, an able mind, he’s given me the resources to be the person I am today, and I want to use that to serve my country because it’s a very special and beautiful country, and I want to keep it that way,” she says.