NASA Monday announced that Holly Ridings will serve as the Johnson Space Center’s chief flight director. She will be the first woman in NASA’s 60-year history to hold the position.
In her new role, Ridings will lead all human spaceflight missions from Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas. The Johnson Space Center, one of NASA’s 10 field centers, serves as the agency’s main hub for training astronauts and monitoring all manned space missions.
Johnson is home to 32 flight directors and several flight directors-in-training, who oversee teams of engineers and scientists tasked with ensuring the safety and success of manned missions. Those teams handle communication with astronauts and track spacecraft systems around the clock, ready to troubleshoot any issues that arise. Ridings will oversee the work of all flight directors and their teams.
Over her 20 years at NASA, Ridings has been the flight director of several expeditions to the International Space Station, as well as the first SpaceX Dragon cargo mission in 2012. In coming years, she’ll be managing more trips to the ISS, as well as upcoming Orion missions, which include plans to carry crews of astronauts to explore the Moon and Mars.
NASA is on a kick with promoting women leaders. Last week, the agency announced Jody Singer as the director of Alabama’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and last month, Vanessa E. Wyche became second-in-command at Johnson Space Center.