Team may be subject to change due to schedules.
DON THOMAS, PH.D ASTRONAUT (Retired)
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.
ROBERT CURBEAM ASTRONAUT (Retired)
Astronaut Robert Curbeam is a veteran of three space flights, STS-85, STS-98, STS-116. He has logged over 901 hours in space as a Mission Specialist and is tied for the record of most spacewalks (4 on STS-116) in a single spaceflight. In total, he has spent more than 45 hours conducting 7 space walks. He also served as the CAPCOM Branch Chief and worked as the primary communicator for numerous space shuttle and space station flights. Prior to becoming an Astronaut, Curbeam was a graduate of Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and Navy Test Pilot School.
MICHELLE LUCAS Program Director
Michelle Lucas spent 11+ 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!
Casey Kelby is a Thermal Engineer at Aerothreads Inc. doing everything from quality inspections, marketing and fabricating multi-layer insulation (MLI). She graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with minors in mathematics and astronomy. She supports organizations like the AIAA, SEDS, and Alpha Gamma Delta. Casey is known as “Spacecase” around the office and among friends due to her vocal support of STEM and love for all things aerospace. Follow Casey on twitter (@caseykelbs).
TARA M. RUTTLEY, PhD.
Tara M Ruttley, PhD is an Associate Program Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Dr. Ruttley believes that the distinct changes that happen to living and physical systems in the unique microgravity environment can tell us more about who we are on Earth, where we come from, and where we might be headed. Her role in the ISS Program Science Office consists of representing and communicating all research on the space station, and supporting the ISS Chief Scientist’s research recommendations to the ISS Program Manager and to NASA Headquarters. Combining her love for Biology and human spaceflight, she pursued her BS degree in Biology and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University. Upon completion of her MS degree, she came to work for NASA in 2001 where she began her career as a biomedical engineer for the medical equipment and human research hardware used on the ISS. While working as an engineer, she concurrently pursued her PhD in Neuroscience and joined the ISS Program Science Office upon completion, where she’s since enjoyed playing an active role in the science activities taking place on the ISS. Dr. Ruttley has authored publications ranging from hardware design to neurological science, and also holds a U.S. utility patent.