Joan E. Higginbotham
Source: Johnson Space Center
Born August 3, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She enjoys body
building (weightlifting), cycling, music, motivational speaking.
Graduated from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Chicago,
Illinois, in 1982; received a bachelor of science degree electrical engineering from
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, in 1987, and masters of management and space
systems from Florida Institute of Technology in 1992 and 1996, respectively.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Bronze Eagles.
NASA Exceptional Service Medal; Keys to the Cities of Cocoa
and Rockledge, Florida; Group Achievement Award for STS-26 Return to Flight; Kennedy Space
Center Public Affairs Certificate of Appreciation for Service; Commendation of Merit for
Service to the Department of Defense (DOD) Missions; Presidential Sports Award in
bicycling and weight training; Outstanding Woman of the Year Award; Outstanding
Performance 1992, 1993, 1995; National Technical Association's 50 Distinguished Scientists
and Engineers; Florida Institute of Technology's Distinguished Alumni for 1997.
Joan Higginbotham began her career in 1987 at the Kennedy
Space Center (KSC), Florida, as a Payload Electrical Engineer in the Electrical and
Telecommunications Systems Division. Within six months she became the lead for the Orbiter
Experiments (OEX) on
Space Shuttle Columbia. Later she worked on the Shuttle payload bay reconfiguration for
all Shuttle missions. She was also tasked by KSC management to undertake several special
assignments where she served as the Executive Staff Assistant to the Director of Shuttle
Operations and Management, led a team of engineers in performing critical analysis for the
Space Shuttle flow in support of a simulation model tool, and was involved working on an
interactive display to show detailed Shuttle processing procedures at Spaceport USA.
Higginbotham was promoted to Lead Orbiter Project Engineer for
two years as an orbiter project engineer for
Shuttle Atlantis. She held the technical lead government engineering position in the
firing room where she supported and managed the integration of vehicle testing and
Selected as an astronaut candidate
by NASA in April 1996 Joan Higginbotham 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. Currently, Joan Higginbotham is assigned technical
duties in the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch.
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