According to Dictionary.com, extraordinaire means: outstanding or remarkable in a particular capacity – an apt description of engineer Johanna Lucht.
“My ‘extraordinary’ is finding efficient ways to improve how we gather and evaluate aviation data,” said Lucht.
Lucht, who was born deaf, never thought she would work for NASA. Born in Germany, where resources for deaf people were limited at the time, Johanna developed an understanding of mathematics before she acquired language. It was that passion for math and the ability to face challenges that led to her eventual study of computer science, and paved her road to NASA. After an internship at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, she was offered a position.
In 2017, Johanna became the first deaf engineer to carry out an active role in a NASA control center during a crewed research flight. As the systems II engineer for the flight, she was responsible for observing and evaluating data related to the aircraft’s GPS and navigation systems, as well as analyzing inflight data, to monitor how well the aircraft was performing in flight. She worked with an interpreter who conveyed communications to her—and she excelled in the role. She believes the challenges she faced growing up as a deaf person in the hearing world in part prepared her for her role.
Image Credit: NASA