Keynote Speaker

Allison Bolinger

Allison B

Flight Director for NASA

Allison grew up in central Ohio dreaming about flying in space.  Despite eventually realizing that staying firmly planted on the ground was more her style, with her sights still set on NASA, she received her B.S. from Purdue in Aerospace Engineering in 2004.  While she was working on her degree, she participated in 5 co-operative education tours at Johnson Space Center, which opened the door for full-time employment once she graduated.  

In July 2004, she began working in the ExtraVehicular Activities (EVA) group where she developed spacewalk timelines, trained astronauts to perform EVAs, and then worked in Mission Control while the EVAs were being executed.  In addition to supporting numerous Space Shuttle missions, she held prime assignments for the STS-114 Return to Flight Mission in 2005, STS-120 in 2007, and she was the lead EVA Officer for STS-134, the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2011.  She also led 3 additional EVAs during Increments 33 and 38.  She was promoted to EVA Task Group Lead in 2014, a position she held for 2.5 years, before transferring to the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) in 2017.  While serving as NBL Deputy Chief, Allison was in charge of running the day-to-day operations of the world-class, underwater training facility.

In June 2018, Ms. Bolinger was selected to join the ranks of Flight Director.  After completing her training, she was certified as the 95th Flight Director in October 2019 and chose the call sign Athena Flight.  She was the lead Flight Director for the Northrup Grumman NG-13 cargo mission in 2020, for US EVAs 67 and 68, which performed the final external Lithium Ion battery upgrades in 2020, and for the SpaceX SpX-25 cargo mission in 2022.  From April through October 2021, Ms. Bolinger was the Increment 65 Lead Flight Director, a critical position in which she was responsible for the daily operations aboard the International Space Station (ISS).  Highlights of this time period onboard the ISS include launch and docking of the Russian Nauka module, 3 EVAs installing 2 of the first new roll-out solar arrays, and activation of a new CO2 scrubbing technology demonstration capability.  She is currently focusing on the upcoming Boeing Starliner missions, slated to launch 2 astronauts on a test flight in Spring 2024 and 4 astronauts for a long-duration mission in Spring 2025.

Ms. Bolinger is the recipient of the Early Career Achievement Medal, the Outstanding Leadership Medal for recognition of her work as the Increment 65 Lead Flight Director, as well as the NASA Space Flight Awareness Silver Snoopy award.  The Silver Snoopy awards was given to her by the STS-120 astronaut crew in honor of her dedication and outstanding support of the mission.

Trivia Note:  Allison Bolinger attended the Women in Technology and Science (WITS) Conference at Ohio University when she was in middle school, an event started by Dr. Jane Johnsen more than 40 years ago.  We welcome Flight Chief Bolinger back to our campus!

In the News

Purdue University,, spotlight feature