Title: Aerospace Engineer
Location: League City, Texas, United States
Michele A. Brekke, aerospace engineer, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Engineers for dedication, achievements, and leadership in the aerospace industry.
As the first female Flight Director and Space Shuttle Flight Manager for NASA, Ms. Brekke is living proof that anything is possible when you are hardworking, assertive and driven toward achieving your goals no matter what. In total, she has amassed 42 years of experience in the field of aerospace engineering, during which time she has been afforded dynamic opportunities to share her leadership and expertise as evidenced by the success she achieved managing six Space Shuttle missions between 1997 and 2001. Today, Ms. Brekke finds success specializing in Mission Integration and Operations for the US space program, where she has been instrumental in many roles throughout her career. Her former roles with NASA Johnson Space Center include Director, Technology Transfer; Space Shuttle Flight Manager; Manager, Space Station Utilization; Manager, Space Shuttle Customer and Flight Integration; Space Shuttle Flight Director; Space Shuttle Mission Control Payloads Officer, and instructor for Space Shuttle operations.
While in high school, Ms. Brekke was on the path to becoming a math teacher; however, her ambitions changed on July 20, 1969 when she watched Apollo 11 land on the moon. Having recently lost her older teenage brother in a tragic accident, she was determined that her life would make a difference. The moment she saw the Apollo 11 crew set foot on the moon, she decided to be an astronaut. After all, she couldn’t make a difference by being like everybody else.
To prepare for her career, she attended the University of Minnesota, where she achieved a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 1975 followed by a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering two years later. She quickly established a reputation of excellence within her industry through her involvement in her professional community, which included a membership with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Although not selected to be an astronaut, she has clearly made a difference with her aerospace career “on the ground.”
In recognition of her accomplishments with NASA and within the aerospace industry, Ms. Brekke has received several awards, including a Certificate of Commendation from NASA, Exceptional Achievement Medals from NASA, she was selected to hang the Mission Plaque in Mission Control for two Space Shuttle missions and, most recently, an Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, she is a formerly elected Amelia Earhart fellow with Zonta International and she was named one of America’s 100 Young Women of Promise by Good Housekeeping Magazine.
Ms. Brekke is currently employed by Special Aerospace Services and is the Flight Manager for the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, scheduled to transport NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
As she looks ahead to the future, Ms. Brekke has no intention of slowing down in her professional pursuits. In fact, she plans to continue working in aerospace engineering until it is “no longer fun,” which she doesn’t foresee happening any time soon.
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