On March 9 2013, a retired Air Force test pilot and NASA astronaut, a NASA scientist, and a MDA space engineer will answer questions that girls and women who registered to go on their first flight asked.
The day of inspiring life choices and experiences shared by three accomplished women will begin at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (14:00 GMT) and will continue until 3:30 PM Eastern (20:30 GMT).
9 AM Eastern Time (14:00 GMT) – Dr. Manta Patel Nagaraja, NASA space scientist
Dr. Manta Patel Nagaraja holds doctorate in biomedical engineering and has a long and varied career at NASA. She trained astronauts who flew aboard both the U.S. Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS), became a certified flight controller for the communications system of the ISS, and currently manages the Agency-wide Women@NASA project.
Recently, she started the interview process for the upcoming astronaut selection for 2013 class.
In her spare time, she volunteers as a role model with FabFems, runs marathons and half marathons across the world, and travels the world performing outreach in developing countries.
11 AM & 2 PM Eastern Time (16:00 GMT & 19:00 GMT) – Pam Melroy, retired AF combat pilot, test pilot, & astronaut
Colonel Pam Melroy served as pilot on two space flights (STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002) and was the mission commander on STS-120 in 2007, making her one of only two women who commanded the space shuttle. She has logged more than 924 hours (more than 38 days) in space.
Before becoming an astronaut, Colonel Melroy had a long pilot career in the Air Force and flew in combat. She has piloted 50 types of aircraft. She was a test pilot in the C-17 Combined Test Force and as such, set 7 world aviation records. She also developed and flew first-ever C-17 air show demonstration.
Since retiring from NASA in 2009, she has held management positions and currently acts as Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office of DARPA.
1 PM Eastern Time (18:00 GMT) – Natalie Panek, robotic operator and aerospace engineer at MDA Space Missions
Natalie Panek is a robotic operator and aerospace engineer at MDA Space Missions, previously interning at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center and NASA Ames Research Center. She’s driven a solar-powered car across North America, has a pilot’s license, and skydived with Korea’s first Astronaut.
With degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Natalie has co-authored papers on flames burning in microgravity and repairing broken satellites in space. She has spoken at TEDx and on the panel for Women in Aerospace International Women’s day.
Natalie is an advocate for encouraging women to dive head-on into challenging careers and take risks, recognizing that we need to foster innovation in order to challenge the foundations of our generation and the next. She is also an avid adventurer, always looking to fill any free time with the outdoors and exploration.
Don’t miss this fantastic program. Join us on March 9. Activities at several events will also be available to view.