US Central Command congratulates first Saudi woman to join NASA

Mishaal Ashemimry is an aerospace engineer, who serves as CEO of MISHAAL Aerospace based in Miami, Fla. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

Jeddah — US Central Command has congratulated Mishaal Ashemimry, the first Saudi woman to join US space agency NASA.

In a tweet it congratulated Ashemimry, saying she is “an inspiring model for women.”

Center for International Communication (CIC), an initiative of the Saudi Ministry of Culture & Information, retweeted: “Congratulations to @mishalashemimry the 1st #Saudi #female to join @NASA.”

Mishaal Ashemimry is an aerospace engineer, who serves as CEO of MISHAAL Aerospace based in Miami, Fla. The goal is to send small satellites into orbit with cost-effective space access vehicles known as the M-Rocket Series.

“When I look back at the moment I was inspired, when I was six, it somehow puts things into perspective. I guess you can say I get my inspiration through my younger eyes staring at the sky in awe and enthusiasm,” Mishaal said an earlier interview.

“My fascination with space started while gazing at the stars in the Unayzah desert. Since then my focus has been to become an aerospace engineer and contribute to the development of space vehicles and rockets,” she said.

Mishaal previously worked for Raytheon Missile Systems’ Aerodynamics Department and contributed to 22 different rocket programs. Her professional experience and areas of expertise include: aerodynamics, wind tunnel testing, vehicle design, predictive simulation and analysis and rocket stage-separation analysis, with a strong focus on computational tool development.

Mishaal earned Bachelor of Science Degrees in Aerospace Engineering and in Applied Mathematics from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, and a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering, also from Florida Institute of Technology. Her academic focus included: experimental and analytical aerodynamics, rocket design and nuclear thermal propulsion.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida Institute of Technology with two Bachelor of Science degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mathematics on May 05, 2006 and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering on December 15, 2007.

As a graduate research assistant Mishaal worked on a NASA Marshall Space Flight Center project on nuclear thermal propulsion. She analyzed and designed a new thermal nuclear rocket engine for Mars Missions for NASA. She analyzed and modeled the thermo-fluid behavior inside the nuclear core of the 1960s NERVA-Type reactors to better understand the issue of large wall thermal gradients and to benchmark codes to design our new nuclear thermal rocket engine. The objective of her work was to design a nuclear thermal rocket that minimizes or eliminates the thermal issues experienced by the 1960s NERVA-Type reactors.