A Black woman is making history at NASA once again!
According to Texas Public Radio, Vanessa Wyche will become the first Black woman to serve as director of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) center.
Wyche, a 30-year- NASA veteran, will lead efforts in human spaceflight missions, the nation’s astronaut corps, International Space Station mission operations, and the Orion Program at the Johnson Space Center.
NASA’s Johnson Space Center, located in Houston, Texas, is ready to embark on a new era of space flight and exploration led by Wyche.
“We’ll have the opportunity to have robotic missions as well as human missions going to the moon and working in tandem together,” said Wyche in an interview. “So, yeah, now is an extremely exciting time.”
That excitement includes partnering with SpaceX and Boeing on missions to the ISS which will eventually lead to missions to the Moon, reports Houston Public Media.
“SpaceX has been successful at having our astronauts fly on board their spacecraft, and Boeing will have an uncrewed test a little bit later this summer, maybe this month,” shared Wyche.
Her career at the Johnson Space Center began in 1989 as an engineer where she managed several space shuttle missions.
While Wyche never applied to be an astronaut despite those missions, she does say that she was inspired by dreams of going to space from seeing someone who looked like her in shows like “Star Trek.”
“My interest was actually from ‘Star Trek,’ and seeing all of those people, including Nichelle Nichols’ character as Lt. Uhura, and thinking one day I would be her on the bridge,” Wyche said.
Over the years, Wyche has received many prestigious awards which include two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals and two NASA Achievement Medals.
Throughout her time with NASA, Wyche has held several key positions as the director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate. She has also served as the flight manager of several missions of the retired Space Shuttle Program.
Now, she will work to continue to move the organization to new heights.