Mindy Howard

Dr. Mindy Howard is an American who obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Industrial Engineering in the United States (SUNY Buffalo and University of Massachusetts at Amherst) and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the Technical University Eindhoven in The Netherlands. She has made The Netherlands her home since 1990 and also obtained Dutch citizenship.

She began her career at the Royal Dutch Shell Group of companies, in The Hague in 1994, and has held several technical and leadership roles in the company. In her latest role in the company, she was responsible for creating strategy and leading implementation globally across four main specialist areas: Sustainable Development, Social Performance, environment, and C02 management within the Gas and Power Division.

More recently, she has created the first space training, to psychologically prepare commercial astronauts for their space flights, called Inner Space Training. Mindy is the Founding Director and Lead Trainer of Inner Space Training, and has a team of world class people working together with her. Together with her team, she would like to help people optimize their commercial spaceflight and get the most out of their “once in a lifetime experience” by having a peak experience in the case of space tourists, or being fully present throughout the entire spaceflight to carry out an experiment, in the case of space researchers. Videos of Inner Space Training on Youtube can be found by here and here.

Mindy’s dream has always been to become an astronaut. After obtaining her Ph.D., Mindy applied to NASA and was placed on NASA's "Highly Qualified" astronaut candidate list.  She is still working on achieving her dream and is confident that it will happen, either in orbital or suborbital space. Mindy has presented several papers and posters at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in 2011 and 2012, and at other international conferences. She has been invited to be a guest lecturer at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France in 2013.

During her Master’s degree, she designed and conducted experiments in fault diagnosis of pilots to facilitate the design of an expert system for the cockpit in a Boeing 737, in conjunction with the NASA Langley Research Center's Flight Management Division. Mindy won a NASA Graduate Student Researcher Fellowship, which fully sponsored her Master’s thesis research. During her Bachelor’s degree, Mindy worked at Grumman Aerospace where she assisted in the development of the NASA Space Station Control/Display design for the generic workstation and conducted experiments on tele-operated systems using astronaut subjects. Mindy has also written publications on a variety of subjects, including human factors design of cabins of spaceships, expert systems to help pilots with fault diagnosis, and quality of group decision making  as groups undergo several tasks.

Mindy has successfully completed her certification at the National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center's Suborbital Scientist Training Program, which provides space flight physiology training for prospective "Suborbital Scientist-Astronauts" wishing to fly experiments on upcoming suborbital space missions.  Videos of her training at NASTAR are available on YouTube here and here. In addition, she is a certified PADI open water scuba diver and has taken an emergency egress course in helicopter ditching, which was necessary in order to work offshore in the oil industry. Mindy is also a member of Women in Aerospace, Europe.

Mindy has many hobbies including playing drums in a band, cooking, skydiving, bungy jumping, skiing, and animals.