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Holly Ridings first female chief flight director to join NASA’s gateway leadership

Posted at 8:52 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 21:52:33-04

HOUSTON, Texas — Holly Ridings has already broken barriers by becoming the first female flight director at NASA, but now her hard work is allowing her a new opportunity that's out of this world.

Since 1967 Houston has been named the ‘Space City’ as it is home to NASA’s manned spacecraft facility – The Johnson Space Center.

With a rich history in space exploration, NASA makes another giant leap for mankind as Holly Ridings explains how she is ready for her major role.

“Stepping into this new role is completely exciting, so Artemis and the Artemis Enterprise is big," said Ridings. “Gateway is going to be the space station that is going to be around the moon, so imagine going out and looking at the moon and imagine there being a space station circling it in just several years.”

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 which include the Artemis and Gateway missions.

Ridings says the dream all started right here in Aggieland.

“It’s amazing the foundation that it gave me for engineering.” Said the Deputy Program Manager.

“I tell people a lot - NASA and [Texas] A&M are very similar; this community of people with an amazing goal to do an amazing thing. The team Aggie spirit is kind of the NASA spirit as well.” Said Ridings.

Karla Courtlind is visiting Houston from Kansas on Vacation to Space Center Houston with family. Courtlind said it’s women like Ridings that is an inspiration to not only girls growing up, but to the youth who wish to aspire to be the first at their dreams.

“Well, I think it’s wonderful when [you see] a qualified woman in such an impactful, empowering role.” Said the Houston visitor. “She makes a great role model for young women who can seek to become [in] such an impactful role [as Ridings]," said Courtlind.

Ridings says it’s a responsibility to pave the way for others to do great things.

“I really think about being responsible and setting the tone for the people coming up behind me," said Ridings. “So [qualities like] what can you do and give back to help provide those opportunities? So it’s a little more than just being seen you have to be active about it – that’s what I have learned and what I will focus on.”

From ‘Space City’ to The Brazos Valley, Ridings hopes everyone from both cities will be following her along this journey to “Infinity and Beyond.”

“I hope what this means to The Brazos Valley is that they will be following along,” Hoped Ridings. “Here in Houston at The Johnson Space Center - we are not that far away, it’s almost like we are right next to each other.” Said Ridings. “So, follow along, get excited about space and, come down and visit," said Ridings.