First Female Chief Flight Director to Join NASA’s Gateway Leadership
Holly Ridings, the first female chief of NASA’s flight directors, will now help lead the agency’s Gateway program, an international partnership to establish humanity’s first space station around the Moon.
In her new role, Ridings will serve as the deputy program manager, where she will lead teams to build and launch NASA’s foundational infrastructure in deep space.
“I am honored to help lead the Gateway program — a blueprint for NASA’s exploration plans to the Moon and beyond,” Ridings said. “Serving as chief flight director has been a great honor, and I will carry the excellence of Flight Operations with me to the incredible Gateway team.”
Ridings became chief flight director in 2018, leading NASA human spaceflight operations through the first commercial crew missions, to the International Space Station, and in preparation for the upcoming Artemis I mission. Over the course of her career in human spaceflight operations, Ridings has spent thousands of hours in the Mission Control Center supporting the assembly and operations of the space station. Ridings led several key operational milestones in human spaceflight, including the first commercial cargo spacecraft mission to the space station in 2012.
“The Gateway program will be served incredibly well by Holly’s tremendous depth of experience supporting the International Space Station,” said Dan Hartman, Gateway program manager. “Through Gateway, NASA is extending more than 20 years of discovery, research and international collaboration in low-Earth orbit to deep space, starting at the Moon.”
Ridings began her NASA career in 1997 at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, before becoming a flight controller at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, where she led various teams supporting the International Space Station. A native of Amarillo, Texas, Ridings earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, in 1996.
Based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the Gateway program is an international collaboration that is building a small, human-tended space station that will orbit the Moon as a vital component of NASA’s Artemis missions. Gateway will host many capabilities for sustained exploration and research in deep space, including docking ports for a variety of visiting spacecraft, space for crew to live and work, and onboard science investigations to study heliophysics, human health, and life sciences, among other areas. Gateway will be a critical platform for developing technology and capabilities to support future Mars exploration.
Learn more about Gateway:
Holly Ridings, the first female chief of NASA’s flight directors, will help lead the agency’s Gateway program to establish humanity’s first space station around the Moon. Credits: NASA