Another glass ceiling shattered!
Vanessa Wyche is making history as the first Black woman to serve as director of a NASA center, Texas Public Radio reports.
Wyche began her career with NASA in 1989, serving at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. Since then, she has served in several leadership positions including, director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate and flight manager overseeing multiple missions associated with the retired Space Shuttle Program.
Wyche has received many honors for her service during her three decades of service, including two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals and two NASA Achievement Medals. Now, her work has come full circle. Wyche was recently appointed as director of the Johnson Space Center, making history as the first Black woman to lead a NASA center in the organization’s 60+ year history. Like the NASA pioneers, Katherine Johnson, Dr. Christine Darden, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn, she is showing Black women can do anything.
— Vanessa Wyche (@v_wyche) July 9, 2021
The director is no stranger to breaking barriers. Growing up in the Deep South she was the first person in her family to go through all integrated schools.
“I was a little girl growing up in South Carolina. I never thought I’d work at NASA,” she told reporters.
Now, as the director, Wyche will spearhead JSC’s human spaceflight missions, the country’s astronaut corps, the International Space Station mission operations, and the Orion program. The NASA vet said she is excited and humbled to lead the Center as it forges a new path of space flight and exploration.
“It is just an honor to know that I will have the opportunity to lead these efforts as we’re moving forward… We’ll have the opportunity to have robotic missions as well as human missions going to the moon and working in tandem together. So, yeah, now is an extremely exciting time,” Wyche said.
NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy said that Vanessa is a tenacious leader who has broken down barriers throughout her career.
“Vanessa’s more than three decades at NASA and program experience in almost all of the human spaceflight programs at Johnson is an incredible asset to the agency. In the years to come, I’m confident that Houston will continue to lead the way in human spaceflight.”
Wyche has said space exploration is for everyone and continues to motivate students to take up STEM and work for her one day.
“I want all young people to pursue a career in STEM because I want them to come and work at the Johnson Space Center,” she said.
Congratulations, Director Wyche!!
Photo Courtesy of Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP