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avatar for Allison Barto

Allison Barto

Ball Aerospace
Senior Program Manager
Allison Barto spent 17 years in both technical and leadership roles for the James Webb Space Telescope at Ball Aerospace, where she led the team responsible for both delivery of the optics and electronics for the 22-foot-wide Telescope, as well the overall optical design, verification, and on-orbit optical phasing and commissioning of the Observatory. In 2017, Barto and her team were honored with the Aviation Week Program Excellence Award for Ball’s work on Webb’s cryogenic electronics system.

During her 20-year career at Ball, Barto has also contributed to the Hubble Space Telescope science instruments, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, several Earth-observing missions, and is currently looking to the future of space telescopes through involvement with multiple study teams to develop next-generation concepts and technologies. Prior to joining Ball, Barto conducted research in General Relativity at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Barto is actively involved with the astronomical instrumentation community through the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), where she was recently elected as an SPIE fellow. She has represented the society both locally and internationally at major technical symposiums, exhibitions and education programs including serving as chair for the SPIE Astronomical Telescope + Instrumentation Symposia in 2018. Allison also serves on the Management Advisory Committee for the European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope program and was recognized for her technical contributions to Webb’s optical verification program with the 2014 Women in Aerospace Achievement Award.

When she is not building the next generation astronomical observatories, Barto fuels her passions for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by participating in education outreach, promoting inquiry based learning, and educational equity and opportunity. Barto served as the co-lead of the Ball Corporation Women’s Resource Group from 2012-2018, supporting the corporation’s Diversity & Inclusion goals to support women at Ball and the next generation of female STEM professionals.