Deanna Chipman
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This is one of my favorite pictures of all time...I am standing here with two of the 21 men who made the journey to the moon!! At the very left is John Young, the ninth man to walk on the moon and the premier commander of the first space shuttle flight. To his left is Mario Runco, a veteran astronaut. To my right is none other than Neil Armstrong, the very first man to walk on the moon. This was a momentous day for me, as I was working and I just happened by these extraordinary men.


I started with Boeing as an mechanical engineer out of grad school from The Joint Institute for Advancement of Flight Sciences at NASA Langley Research Center. I worked on the flight management system of the 747 and the 747-MD in the Aircraft Simulation Laboratory. The 747-MD is the major derivative which would have increased the size and range of the 747. The program was cancelled in 1996. Before I left Seattle, I was loaned out to the 757/767 warning and caution in the laboratory. The Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics interviewed me in are the cheesy things I said at age 26.

Now I am contracted to NASA as an engineer/scientist at the NASA Johnson Space Center. It is a beautiful campus. I now work in the Integrated Training Facility with the Space Shuttle flight software. Two flight softwares fly the shuttle, the Primary Flight System and the Backup Flight System. The backup system is my project. The shuttle flight software is the quintessential software. It was designed to not break. How many times have you had to reboot your computer because some Microsoft software has crashed your computer? The shuttle flight software is designed to register errors without crashing the system. This is imperative since the space shuttle is unable to fly without the aid of its computers. It is an incredible facility where I support astronauts, mission controllers, and the trainers. Every week or so, I get to fly the space shuttle simulator, the same one the astronauts use to train. What an opportunity!

Rice University takes up most of my time, where I am studying for my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I am participating in the National Science Foundation GK-12 fellowship program.

This is me with my dive master, Christian. My velocity is 120 mph. This was my first and, so far, only skydiving experience. At this point, my mind is not really processing what is happening. Christian is waving goodbye to the camera man since he is about to pull the chute, which completed approximately a 30 second free fall.