Heidi Poppelreiter Parris
Armed with a telescope and a star map, Heidi (Poppelreiter) Parris was inspired at an early age to explore the night sky. Now as a NASA engineer and scientist, Heidi has dedicated her career to the exploration of space and the advancement of humanity through scientific research in space.
After attending Green Oaks Elementary School and Arcade Middle School, Heidi graduated from Casa Roble Fundamental High School in 2001. She attended Sac State from 2001-2003 majoring in Physics and Astronomy before transferring to Purdue University and earning a bachelor's degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering, specializing in Orbital Mechanics (how spacecraft move in orbit).
Heidi began her career at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas in 2006 as a Flight Controller in Mission Control, responsible for the real-time navigation of spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS was built piece-by-piece in orbit around the Earth, and has been continuously manned for over 20 years. Heidi worked with NASA's European and Russian International Partners to design, build, and operate the spacecraft developed to continuously resupply new crew and cargo to the ISS. Heidi has logged thousands of hours on console during highly dynamic spacecraft rendezvous and docking operations, both in NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, TX as well as in the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Control Center in Toulouse, France.
After spending 10 years focused on the spacecraft that bring up new science and supplies to the ISS, Heidi transitioned to work in the ISS Program Science office and is now responsible for advancing the scientific research performed onboard ISS. At any given time, hundreds of experiments are being done onboard ISS in a huge range of scientific fields, and the results of this research are profoundly benefiting humanity in numerous ways. Heidi works with researchers across the ISS International Partnership to enable new research opportunities and expand the use of the ISS as a valuable scientific laboratory resource.
Heidi's husband Josh is also a NASA flight controller, working with the Air Force to keep ISS safe from the ever-increasing threat of space debris. They enjoy traveling, scuba diving, biking, running, and hanging out with Talia, their Siberian Husky.