Team may be subject to change due to schedules.
HOOT GIBSON (RET. ASTRONAUT)
Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson is a pilot, aerospace engineer, retired Naval Officer and retired Astronaut. He has flown 5 space shuttle missions including the first space shuttle mission to dock with the Russian space station Mir. He also served as the Chief of the Astronaut office and after retiring from NASA flew for Southwest Airlines and has also won the Reno air races. He has been inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Naval Aviation Hall of Fame, the Space Camp Hall of Fame and has received numerous other honors.
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!
JOHN VAN PELT
John started his career in radio as a part-timer at several stations in Raleigh, NC while in high school and college. Becoming an Amateur Radio operator for the specific purpose of joining the National Weather Service Skywarn volunteer program, he was involved in several ‘World’s Firsts’, with the first 24/7 wireless mobile weather webcam in 1999 and the first 24/7 mobile wireless weather station in 2001. From hurricanes, with the help of fellow Ham, Danny Musten, John initiated the first Internet Radio Linking Project (voip) report to the National Hurricane Center, with a portable ham radio from Hurricane Lili, in 2002. He also originated the first EchoLink (voip) hurricane report from a vehicle-based laptop and wireless AirCard, from Hurricane Wilma to the NHC in 2005. He worked as an on-air consultant, with CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and numerous local TV affiliates during hurricane season from 2002-2005 and was the on-camera weather conditions consultant for MSNBC’s coverage of the Space Shuttle’s Return to Flight mission in ’05. In 2007 and 2008 he was Energizer’s national spokesman for their ‘Plan. Prepare. Protect’ initiative, supporting family preparedness education through school and children’s club visits with “The Bunny”, national satellite media tours, appearing in millions of households from the National Hurricane Conference and online content creation. His passion for reporting accurate conditions and preparedness information from the field continues to be an important personal commitment at WeatherNation.
Jeff Herold has been teaching since 2000 and has taught everything from Kindergarten through 12th grade and community college. Currently, he teaches S.T.E.M. to 7th and 8th graders at Hillcrest Middle School in Glendale, Arizona. While not volunteering at local elementary schools at their science nights, he enjoys paragliding, attending professional development, and spending time with his family. His favorite student is his 6th grade son, Skyler. Jeff is the 2015 Arizona Air Force Association Teacher of the Year and 2015 Arizona Challenger Space Center Educator of the Year. Jeff is a member of The Mars Generation Student Space Ambassador Planning Committee and the Train Like a Martian Planning Committee. You can follow his S.T.E.M. adventures on Twitter @STEMJeff.