Clone of About Us

The Higher Orbits Mission

Higher Orbits is a non-profit with the mission to inspire and engage high-school students through the use of spaceflight, in hands-on, project based learning experiences that are designed to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) and prepare them for future academic and career success by building confidence, perseverance, teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills.

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.

Austin Braun, a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, is a strategic communications expert with a career spanning various innovative industries, including engineering, technology,

Jason Artner is the Director of Aerospace Business Development at The Scot Forge Company.  Jason studied Applied Computer Science at Illinois State University prior to

Jason Hopkins is an Aerospace Engineer with experience developing and operating space systems for NASA and DoD programs. He worked as a Flight Test Integration

Jenni Ginsburg, a senior fire protection section manager at Burns & McDonnell, has spent more than a decade in the space industry. After graduating from

Kim is a high school agra science teacher and FFA advisor at San Carlos High school, which is located on the San Carlos Apache Indian

My name is Marissa and I am passionate about the simple things in life. My furry friends, Tucks Magoo, and Bruno hold a special place

Natalie is an attorney in Chicago, IL. She concentrates her practice in insurance defense and brings a unique perspective to her firm, previously working for

Nicole is an astronaut, aquanaut, artist, mom, and now author of her first book Back to Earth What Life In Space Taught Me About Our Home

Phillip A. Smith is the LAX Chief Pilot for Delta Air Lines and Captain on the Airbus 319/320/321 fleet. He is a 2001 graduate of

Richard Pruss, is a regional practice manager specializing in aerospace and manufacturing facilities. He brings 17 years of in-depth knowledge of planning, design, modernization, facilities

Advisory Board Members