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.

Casey Kelby is a Business Development Manager at NanoAvionics, a nano-satellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in

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

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

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

Tara Sweeney has been inspiring children and adults to see the wonder of space exploration and the importance of the STEM fields that make it

Victoria Mechtly is an architecture, engineering, and construction (A/E/C) business and marketing professional who specializes in client development, strategic business planning, and implementation for business-critical

Advisory Board Members