Stephanie Wilson is an engineer and NASA astronaut. She was the second African-American woman to go into space and has spent the most time in space of any African-American, male or female. Wilson is a veteran of three spaceflights: 2006's STS-121, 2007's STS-120, and 2010's STS-131. As a member of the Astronaut Office, she is currently the Mission Support Crew Branch Chief.
Wilson graduated from Taconic High School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1984, received a bachelor of science degree in Engineering Science from Harvard University in 1988, and a master of science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas in 1992. Her research focused on the control and modeling of large, flexible space structures.
From 1988 to 1990, Wilson worked for the former Martin Marietta Astronautics Group in Denver, Colorado. As a loads and dynamics engineer for Titan IV, she was responsible for performing coupled loads analyses for the launch vehicle and payloads during flight events.
Following the completion of her graduate work, she began working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in 1992. As a member of the Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem for the Galileo spacecraft, Wilson worked in the areas of sequence development and testing and was responsible for assessing attitude controller performance, science platform pointing accuracy, antenna pointing accuracy, and spin rate accuracy. While at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wilson also supported the Interferometry Technology Program as a member of the Integrated Modeling Team, which was responsible for finite element modeling, controller design, and software development.
Selected by NASA in April 1996, Wilson reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, she is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. She was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch to work with Space Station payload displays and procedures. She then served in the Astronaut Office CAPCOM Branch, working in Mission Control as a prime communicator with on-orbit crews.
Following her work in Mission Control, Wilson was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Shuttle Operations Branch involving the Space Shuttle Main Engines, External Tank, and Solid Rocket Boosters. Wilson completed her first space flight on STS-121 in 2006, logging almost 13 days in space. During this return-to-flight mission, the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery tested new equipment and procedures that increase the safety of space shuttles, repaired a rail car on the International Space Station, and produced never-before-seen, high-resolution images of the Shuttle during and after its July 4th launch.
During the STS-120 mission in 2007 to deliver the Node 2 connecting module to the International Space Station, Wilson supported robotic arm operations for vehicle inspection, multi-purpose logistics module installation, and EVAs, and was responsible for the transfer of more than 28,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the ISS. The crew also performed maintenance on the space station and delivered a new Expedition 13 crew member to the station. The mission was accomplished in 306 hours, 37 minutes, and 54 seconds.
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