The Higher Orbits Mission

Higher Orbits is a non-profit with the mission of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); along with leadership, teamwork, and communication through the use of spaceflight. Mankind's journey into space serves as an ideal launchpad to excite students of all ages about STEM, STEAM, Leadership and working to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. Higher Orbits uses a variety of programs and partnerships with other organizations to achieve these goals.

 

The Higher Orbits Team

MICHELLE LUCAS

Founder & President of Higher Orbits

Michelle spent 10 years working at NASA primarily in International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control Operations Planning and as an Astronaut Instructor in the Daily Operations Group. Her passion for inspiring students led to extensive work with other organizations in STEM outreach. She then decided to form Higher Orbits to continue to work to inspire students about the wonders of STEM through spaceflight.

Advisory Board Members


Mike Foreman

Mike Foreman

Former NASA Astronaut // Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Mike Foreman brings 40 years of Federal Government service as a NASA astronaut, Naval Officer, Project Manager and Leader to the Higher Orbits Cislunar Baard. He holds multiple degrees in Engineering and is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Mike has flown more than 7,000 hours in over 50 different aircraft. Career highlights include 17 years as a NASA Astronaut. Mike flew on two NASA Space Shuttle missions where he conducted five spacewalks totaling over 32 hours outside the vehicle performing International Space Station assembly tasks.

George Zamka (Colonel, USMC, Ret.)

George Zamka (Colonel, USMC, Ret.)

Former NASA Astronaut // Cislunar Advisory Board Member

George has served in various technical and leadership roles in the Astronaut Office, including space rendezvous and proximity operations, landing and rollout instructor and lead for shuttle systems within the Shuttle Operations Branch. In 2007, he completed his first spaceflight as pilot on STS-120. For his second spaceflight, he commanded the crew of STS-130, which flew in February 2010. Colonel Zamka has logged more than 692 hours in space.

Hoot Gibson

Hoot Gibson

Former NASA Astronaut // Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Robert Lee "Hoot" Gibson is a retired Captain and Naval Aviator in the United States Navy and a retired NASA astronaut as well as a professional pilot whom currently races regularly at the annual Reno Air Races.

Donald Thomas, Ph.D.

Donald Thomas, Ph.D.

Former NASA Astronaut // Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Thomas became an astronaut in July 1991. Dr. Thomas has served in the Safety, Operations Development, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Office. He was CAPCOM (spacecraft communicator) for Shuttle missions STS-47, 52 and 53. From July 1999 to June 2000 he was Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. A veteran of four space flights, he has logged over 1,040 hours in space.

Tanya Gatlin

Tanya Gatlin

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Tanya Gatlin is currently a pilot for Trans States airlines as well as a tenured associate professor in the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Teaching at the university also involves coaching of the university precision flight team and serving as the faculty adviser for many other student organizations such as the Metro State Student Ninety-Nine's chapter, the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space student chapter, as well as the Commercial Spaceflight Federation Student Chapter.

BJ Griessing

BJ Griessing

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Native of Strongsville, Ohio. His father and grandfather both retired from NASA Lewis Research Center, Grew up with eyes to the sky for aviation and space. As a kid my father restored single-engine airplanes in the two-car garage of our small, suburban home.

Katie Kubitskey

Katie Kubitskey

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Katie Kubitskey is a Louisville Kentuckian and a world enthusiast. After completing her Masters Degree in Religion & Politics in California, she returned to Louisville to pursue a career in the travel and hospitality industry. In addition to her current position at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, she recently started a travel consultant company with the goal of building culturally-enhanced travel itineraries.

Dan Lavery

Dan Lavery

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Dan Lavery is a New Jersey native, and a graduate of Rutgers University - College of Engineering. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and worked as an engineering Project Manager in California before changing his path to a career making music.

Margaret Mason

Margaret Mason

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Early in her teaching career, Dr. Mason practiced mixing Art with STEM. Since 2007 Margaret has lived in Nashville, Tennessee, where she oversees system-wide information technology projects in one of the largest higher education systems in the country, serving over 200,000 students in 6 universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology.

Gillian O'Neil

Gillian O'Neil

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Entrepreneur and Founder of 29studios a Creative Digital Agency operating in Glasgow, London, NYC, and San Francisco, Gillian started her entrepreneurial journey at 29 years old and has been building and growing businesses with a focus in the creative and technology arena since 1998.

Kev O'Neil

Kev O'Neil

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Kev started his own business in 1998 and has gained a wealth of experience in the creative media, video and technology sectors. He is currently the Founder & Managing Director of 29studios.com, a video agency launched in February of 2009.

Vincent Vazzo

Vincent Vazzo

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Vincent spent the final years of the Space Shuttle program working for United Space Alliance (USA) as part of the Engineering Photographic Analysis Team at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Vincent helped with the post-launch analysis of Shuttle film and video as well as software development to aid the workflow involved in analyzing launch footage for potential issues and anomalies. Today he is back at MSFC working on software with Optical Sciences Corporation (OSC) to help NASA analyze and organize data from rocket engine tests.

Liz Warren

Liz Warren

Cislunar Advisory Board Member

Physiologist, professor, and science communications strategist with a passion for human spaceflight; Dr. Warren is currently Principal Engineer at Barrios Technology, LTD serving as ISS Program Science Communications Integration Lead where she provides leadership, coordination, and strategic integration of research communication efforts for the International Space Station.

Tim Gagnon

Tim Gagnon

LEO Advisory Board Member

A life long artist, Tim is the former Director of the Young Astronaut Program at Divine Mercy Catholic School in Merritt Island, FL. Since designing the emblem for the Expedition 11 mission to the ISS in 2004, Tim has contributed artwork to over a dozen NASA mission patches.

Sean Simmons

LEO Advisory Board Member

Sean is a digital media generalist who has co-founded several companies with focus ranging from SEO technology, pharmaceutical biotechnology, equities/options technical analysis training, proprietary technical indicators and market visualization, graphic and web design, and new capture/encoding methodologies for interactive web-distributed video.

Jayme Sliger

Jayme Sliger

LEO Advisory Board Member

Jayme’s background includes working with children through their formative years, from daycare to high school. Jayme has always been an avid enthusiast of the space program. She joined the NASA S&MA quality team at Johnson Space Center in 2008. Her principal task has been quality control in the Crew and Thermal Systems Division. She is currently working on her certification to sit console during testing of the viability of the suits in space.

Kelly DeRees

Kelly DeRees

Suborbital Advisory Board Member

Kelly is an aspiring astronaut from Michigan. She is an Eminence Fellow and Stamps Leadership Scholar at The Ohio State University, where she is studying materials science and engineering. Before applying to become an astronaut, Kelly hopes to work for NASA as an engineer contributing to the manned space program. Kelly is also determined to someday travel to Antarctica, earn a private pilot license, and go skydiving.

Megan Mitchell

Suborbital Advisory Board Member

Mark Reiter

Mark Reiter

Suborbital Advisory Board Member

Mark Reiter is a junior in high school from the suburbs of Chicago. His favorite subjects are Calculus 2 and AP Physics. He is an intern at the Museum of Science and Industry in Downtown Chicago. In his free time he loves to experiment, ride his bike, and play old school arcade games.

Que Roberts

Que Roberts

Suborbital Advisory Board Member

Que graduated in 2014 from the Metropolitan State University of Denver Aviation and Aerospace program with a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Operations and a minor in Space Commercialization. He currently manages a flying school located at Front Range Airport and is also working towards an instrument/commercial pilots rating.

Danielle Rosales

Danielle Rosales

Suborbital Advisory Board Member

As an undergraduate at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Danielle Rosales is majoring in communications with a minor in business administration. Prior to her collegiate career, Danielle attended Matthew C. Perry High School while her father was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan. She was the editor of high school newspaper and yearbook, and was an active specialist for the Stars and Stripes Newspaper.

Alex Sweetman

Alex Sweetman

Suborbital Advisory Board Member

Alexander Sweetman is a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver studying under the Aerospace Operations degree field. Alex is interested in community and government communications, focusing on the educational aspects of aerospace in the state of Colorado. He currently works with organizations like the Colorado Space Business Roundtable, Citizens for Space Exploration, and the Planetary Society to further aerospace education in the state.