The AIAA Division
Open to students from anywhere in grades 6-8.
Team may be subject to change due to schedules.
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 an 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, AIAA Associate Fellow, 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!
Captain, US Navy (Retired) Selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in May 1984, Culbertson completed basic astronaut training in June 1985. He became lead astronaut at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL); lead of the First Emergency Egress Team; and lead spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in the Mission Control Center for seven missions. He flew as the Pilot for STS-38. Following his first flight, he served as the Deputy Chief of the Flight Crew Operations Space Station Support Office, as well as the lead astronaut for Space Station Safety. He was also a member of the team evaluating the hardware and procedures for the proposed mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. Culbertson then served as the Commander for STS-51. Following this flight, Culbertson was Chief of the Astronaut Office Mission Support Branch; then Chief of the Johnson Space Center Russian Projects Office. In 1994, Culbertson was named Deputy Program Manager, Phase 1 Shuttle-Mir, and in 1995 became Manager of the Shuttle-Mir Program. In 2001, Culbertson flew to ISS and served as the Commander of Expedition 3. Culbertson has logged over 146 days in space.
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