If someone tells you that women cannot get involved in space exploration, they will soon be proven very wrong. The first woman has been selected by NASA to become the head of human spaceflight, more precisely the Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate of the American space agency. Her name is Kathy Lueders, and Jim Bridenstine, who is the Administrator of NASA, made the big announcement via Twitter.
Bridenstine further explained the decision by saying:
Kathy has successfully managed both the Commercial Crew & Commercial Cargo programs and is the right person to lead HEO as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon in 2024,
— NASA (@NASA) June 12, 2020
If it all goes as planned with the Artemis program that intends to return humans to the Moon, the next step is sending astronauts to our neighboring planet Mars. There’s no wonder why, though: the Red Planet might be the only cosmic object from the Solar System, besides Earth, that is capable of sustaining life. Building a human colony there has long been just a scenario for sci-fi movies, but space agencies hope that humans will make the first steps towards that goal in the near future.
Who is Kathy Lueders
Kathryn (Kathy) Lueders is an engineer and business manager of American origin. Lueders earned the bachelor’s degree for Business Administration in finance from the University of New Mexico. She also owns a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science for industrial engineering from New Mexico State University.
Lueders began her career at NASA almost three decades ago, in 1992. She began working in the propulsion lab at the White Sands Test Facility. Being only the second woman to work for the facility, Lueders started as the depot manager for Reaction Control Systems and the Space Shuttle program Orbital Maneuvering System. She held several managerial positions for the International Space Station Program Office at NASA Johnson Space Center from Houston, Texas.