NASA names Holly Ridings its first female chief flight director

(NASA) On Sept. 17, 2018, NASA named Holly Ridings its new chief flight director, making her the first woman to lead the elite group that directs human spaceflight missions from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

For the first time in history, a woman will serve as chief flight director of America’s space agency.

Holly Ridings will lead the group that directs human spaceflight missions from Mission Control Center at Houston’s Johnson Space Center, NASA said in a statement.

Ridings will manage a group of 32 flight directors and flight directors-in-training who oversee missions involving the International Space Station, the agency said.

She replaces Norm Knight, who is now the deputy director of Flight Operations.

“Holly has proven herself a leader among a group of highly talented flight directors,” Knight said.

“I know she will excel in this unique and critical leadership position providing direction for the safety and success of human spaceflight missions. She will lead the team during exciting times as they adapt to support future missions with commercial partners and beyond low-Earth orbit.”

Orginally from Amarillo, Texas, Ridings joined NASA in 1998 as a flight controller in the thermal operations group, NASA said.

Since 2005, Ridings has served as the lead flight director for several high-profile missions, including International Space Station mission Expedition 16 in 2007, the Space Shuttle Program mission STS-127 in 2009, and the first SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft mission to the space station in 2012.