Stephanie Diana Wilson (born September 27, 1966) is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She flew on her first mission in space on board the Space Shuttle mission STS-121, and is the second African American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison.

Early life and educationEdit

In middle school, Wilson interviewed an Astronomy professor. In a press conference on STS-131 she remarked that this was one of her early exposures to space. Wilson graduated from Taconic High School, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1984. She attended Harvard University, receiving a bachelor of science degree in engineering science in 1988. Wilson earned a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, in 1992.[1] Wilson has returned to Harvard as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.[2] She was the Chief Marshal for the 362nd Harvard Commencement on May 30, 2013.[3]



Wilson worked for two years for the former Martin Marietta Astronautics Group in Denver, Colorado. As a Loads and Dynamics engineer for the Titan IV rocket, Wilson was responsible for performing coupled loads analyses for the launch vehicle and payloads during flight events. Wilson left Martin Marietta in 1990 to attend graduate school at the University of Texas. Her research focused on the control and modeling of large, flexible space structures.

Following the completion of her graduate work, Wilson 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 was responsible for assessing attitude controller performance, science platform pointing accuracy, antenna pointing accuracy and spin rate accuracy. She worked in the areas of sequence development and testing as well. While at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wilson also supported the Interferometery 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 as an Astronaut Candidate 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 has flown on three shuttle missions. On STS-121, Wilson flew aboard as a mission specialist. She also flew on the STS-120 mission that delivered the Harmony connecting module to the International Space Station.[4][5][6] In April 2010, Wilson flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-131.

Spaceflight experienceEdit


Wilson participates in a training session in the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center

STS-121 (July 4–17, 2006), was a return-to-flight test mission and assembly flight to the International Space Station. During the 13-day flight 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 4 launch. 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.


STS-120 (October 23 – November 7, 2007) was a 6.25 million mile Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS).[7] It delivered the Harmony module, and reconfigured the P6 truss in preparation for future assembly missions.[8] STS-120 carried a new Expedition 16 crewmember, Daniel Tani, and returned Expedition 15 and Expedition 16 crewmember Clayton Anderson. The crew conducted four spacewalks and performed a previously untested repair method on the station's solar array. The mission was accomplished in 15 days, 2 hours, 23 minutes, during 238 orbits.[9]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2009, 2011)
  • NASA Space Flight Medal (2006, 2007, 2010)
  • Honorary Doctorate of Science from Williams College (2011)
  • Harvard College Women’s Professional Achievement Award (2008)
  • Harvard Foundation Scientist of the Year Award (2008)
  • Young Outstanding Texas Exes Award (2005)

See alsoEdit


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