For the first time ever, a woman will lead the Mission Control Center at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Holly Ridings has been named NASA's chief flight director, the first woman in that role.
Ridings has been with NASA since 1998, joining as a flight controller in the organization's thermal operations group. Since 2005, she's served as a flight director, leading multiple space missions.
"Holly has proven herself a leader among a group of highly talented flight directors,” said Brian Kelly, NASA director of flight operations. “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.”
In terms of gender parity, STEM fields still have a long way to go, but NASA has made great strides in the last month. In August, NASA's Johnson Space Center named Vanessa Wyche as its deputy director, the first black woman to serve in that role.