Dr. Cady Coleman is a former NASA Astronaut and a retired US Air Force Colonel who started her career as a polymer chemist. She earned a B.S. in chemistry from MIT and a doctorate in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts. After working as a research chemist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Cady was selected as astronaut in 1992. Over the course of her 24 year career at NASA and the USAF, Cady flew twice on the Space Shuttle Columbia and completed a six month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Cady’s space shuttle missions spanned leadership of microgravity science as a precursor mission to the ISS and responsibility for deploying the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. In 2010, she served as the Lead Science Officer for ISS Expedition 26/27, providing onboard supervision of more than 100 science and technology experiments. As the Lead Robotics Officer for the mission, she became the second-ever astronaut to capture a free-flying supply ship from the ISS. Along with her crew, she hosted a record number of supply ships at the ISS. During a portion of her stay on the ISS, Cady advised Sandra Bullock in the movie Gravity, and gave the introductory talk for TED 2011 from space.
On the ground, Cady was known for her ability to facilitate problem solving among groups with diverse interests. She served in a variety of roles within the Astronaut Office, including Chief of Robotics, Lead for Tile Repair Efforts after the Columbia accident and Lead Astronaut for integration of supply ships from NASA’s commercial partners, Space X and Orbital ATK.
Before retiring from NASA in late 2016, Cady led open-innovation and public-private partnership efforts for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Currently a public speaker and consultant, Cady is passionate about sharing her experiences in leadership and inclusive collaboration, as well as making science accessible to the general public.