An Amarillo native has just been named the new Chief Flight Director at NASA.

Holly Ridings was named the new Chief Flight Director.  Ridings is the first woman to hold this position.  The Chief Flight Director is the person who directs spaceflight missions from the Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Ridings will taking over the position from Norm Knight, who was promoted to Deputy Director of Flight Operations.

According to Brian Kelly, Director of Flight Operations,

"Holly has proven herself a leader among a group of highly talented flight directors,” Kelly 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.”

 

Ridings position will be managing 32 active flight directors and those directors-in-training.

Ridings is a native of our great city of Amarillo.   She is a Texas A&M University Graduate, and earned her BS degree in mechanical engineering in 1996 and went to work for NASA in 1998 as a flight controller in the thermal operations group.

According to a press release form NASA:

She was selected as a flight director in 2005. Since then, she has served as the lead flight director for several missions including International Space Station mission Expedition 16 in 2007-2008, Space Shuttle Program mission STS-127 in 2009, and the first SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft mission to the space station in 2012.

If you are curious about what flight directors do, check out these videos from NASA,  Everything About Mission Control Houston video featuring Flight Director Mary Lawrence.