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, STS-65, STS-70, STS-83 and STS-94, he has logged over 1,040 hours in space as a Mission Specialist.
Michelle Lucas spent 10+ years working at NASA's Johnson Space Center. First as part of the International Space Station (ISS) Payload Safety Review Panel (PSRP) and then in the Mission Operations Directorate as a Flight Controller in ISS Mission Control and as a Astronaut Instructor in the ISS Daily Operations Group. Additionally she worked with each of the International Partners (European Space Agency – ESA, Japanese Space Agency – JAXA and the Russian Space Agency) in the field of Daily Operations, Flight Controller and Instructor Training. Michelle was part of the Core NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) team for 9 missions where astronauts would carry out analog space missions underwater in the Aquarius habitat. Along the way, Michelle found she has a passion for launching the next generation's dreams and ambitions. Her passion for inspiring students led to extensive work with other organizations in STEM outreach so she founded the non-profit Higher Orbits to use space to excite and inspire students about STEM, Leadership, Teamwork and Communication. Michelle is proud to be a Space Camp Alum and member of the Space Camp Hall of Fame. She believes that collaboration in space and STEM is the key to the stars! Space Inspires!
Gary Morris earned his Ph.D. in Space Physics & Astronomy from Rice University, worked as a post-doctoral researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, then studied transport of air pollution from China to Japan on a Fulbright Scholar grant. He arrived at St. Ed’s in July 2014 as Dean of Natural Sciences and Professor of Physics, and is excited to bring Go For Launch! to Austin.
Natalie's love for weather actually flourished during her childhood years while living in a small town east of Orlando, Florida. During that time, she discovered a great interest in severe weather and hurricanes – a passion that held on tightly while growing up, even after leaving Florida and moving to Houston with her family in the late 90s. Natalie graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Environmental Science with an Atmospheric Science concentration, as well as a minor in Geology. It wasn’t until an internship at FOX 26 in Houston that Natalie decided to pursue her passion through broadcasting. Natalie joined the KXAN First Warning Weather Team in November 2015 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist & Reporter.
Recognized among the nation's best Catholic universities and colleges, and as one of "America's Best Colleges," St Edward's University stands distinctively as a top liberal arts university, with partner universities in 11 countries.
The Congregation of Holy Cross founded St. Edward's more than a century ago, encouraging students to think critically, act ethically, embrace diversity, strive for social justice and recognize their responsibility to the world community. These traits, combined with challenging academic programs in the arts, sciences and humanities, distinguish a top liberal arts university, and prep students for success and deep personal fulfillment.