Joan Higginbotham_

Joan Higginbotham_

Former NASA astronaut

Joan Higginbotham is an American engineer and a former NASA astronaut. She flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a mission specialist and was the third African American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison and Stephanie Wilson.

Higginbotham began her career in 1987 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as a payload electrical engineer. She actively participated in 53 space shuttle launches during her nine-year tenure at the centre.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Higginbotham went on to log more than 308 hours in space, where her primary task was to operate the Space Station Remote Manipulator System. In 2007, Higginbotham received the Adler Planetarium Women in Space Science award, and she has also been awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.