Renee Horton (left) and Serena Auñón-Chancellor (right). Photos courtesy NASA.

Women are from Venus: NASA scientist Renee Horton and astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor lend space cred to BR

This month, inRegister reached for the stars with our cover story on Alyssa Carson, the world’s unofficial “youngest astronaut-in-training.” Her dream to one day set foot on the Red Planet, though, is just one part of a constantly moving machine of scientists all over the world working together to create that possibility, whether their work lies in building space-worthy vessels or hovering over experiments 254 miles above the earth.

Louisianians have always played their part in building a better, more beautiful, and more technologically advanced world, and in inRegister‘s September 2020 issue, we home in on two more women working in space science who owe part of their careers to Baton Rouge’s own soil. Read on to learn more.

Photo courtesy NASA/MAF.

First up is Renee Horton, who earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from LSU in 2002. She made a name for herself as the first—and to this day, the only—African American to achieve a Ph.D. in materials science with a concentration in physics from the University of Alabama. Now, she works as a Space Launch System quality engineer in the NASA Residential Management Office at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, helping to build the most powerful rockets in the history of humankind in anticipation of the 2024 Artemis Mission and whatever comes next. Read more about her inspiring story here.

Photo courtesy NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Next, say hello to Serena Auñón-Chancellor, a physician and astronaut now teaching at the LSU Health Sciences Center’s Baton Rouge campus after spending 197 days as the American representative aboard the International Space Station. Treating COVID-19 patients may never have been on her radar before 2020, but her isolation training and specialization in aerospace medicine have certainly prepared her for moving forward with grace and ingenuity in a strange new environment. To read more about her life aboard the space station as well as her various missions here on the ground, check out our full story here.