Tracy Drain was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, graduating from Waggener High School in 1993 before earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1998. During her time at UK, she interned at the NASA Langley Research Center Virginia.
After graduating with her master’s in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2000, she was immediately hired by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to join the team working on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. After the launch in 2005, Drain was promoted to lead systems engineer. Drain joined the Kepler project in 2007 as the Missions Readiness Lead, hunting for Earth-like planets, staying until Kepler checked-out in 2009. In 2009 she joined Juno, which began studying the gravity and magnetic fields of Jupiter when it successfully reached the planet in 2016. She has been with NASA for over 17 years now and is currently the Technical Group Supervisor for the Flight Systems Engineering group and working on the Psyche mission, studying the largest known metal asteroid in our solar system with a projected launching in 2022.