Tanya Estes

LTC Tanya Estes, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at The United States Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, New York. An Army astronaut nominee to NASA in 2004, 2009, and 2012, Tanya completed an Army Astronaut interview in 2007.

Tanya earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Aerospace) and received her commission from the United States Military Academy as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and was designated an Army Aviator in June 1996 as an Honor Graduate from her class. Upon completing the AH-64A Apache transition, she served a tour in Korea as a platoon leader in 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry followed by an assignment to 3rd Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment as the Battalion Intelligence Officer in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Upon returning from a deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina with 3-229th Aviation Regiment in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, Tanya assumed command of HHC 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment at Fort Rucker, Alabama where she also served as an AH-64A Instructor Pilot.

Selected to teach at USMA, she earned her Master of Science in Computer Science from North Carolina State University in 2004. After teaching at USMA for three years, she deployed with the 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group (TAOG) as the Operations Officer to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon redeployment, she served as the Operations Officer for the Air Traffic Services Command (ATSCOM) at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Selected to teach a second tour at USMA, Tanya earned her PhD in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012. Other military schools include Army Parachutist Course, Air Assault School, Aviation Officer Basic Course, Aviation Captain’s Career Course, the Combined Arms Services Staff School, and the Command and General Staff College.

Her research interests include the use of haptics for passive learning and rehabilitation, assistive technologies and software development process improvement. In June of 2007, she worked with the Robonaut Team at the NASA Johnson Space Center, studying user interfaces to control the robot in microgravity and low gravity conditions as well as over a time delay. She continues to pursue studies in the use of haptics as a form of hand rehabilitation in persons with spinal cord injury and human-centered computing.

Active in the aviation community, Tanya helped coach the West Point Flying Team to its first Regional championship in 2012 and debut Nationals showing. She was a participant in several Centennial of Flight events, having logged over 6 minutes of flight in a 1902 Wright Glider and having taken a replica 1903 Wright Flyer down the rail and through gimbal testing. Her team's work was featured in the shows "The Wright Challenge" on The History Channel, "The Restorers" on PBS, and "On the Wings of a Dream" with the Wolf Trap Foundation.

Tanya completed her first solo at 16 years of age, earned her FAA Private Pilot License in 1990 and has since logged over 1200 hours of flight in OH-58 A/C, AH-64A Apache, Cessna 152, 172, 182, Diamond DA-20, DA-40, Piper Arrow, Wright 1902 Glider, Wright 1903 Flyer, and HIND-D aircraft. She is an AH-64A Apache Instructor Pilot and a Certified Flight Instructor (Airplane and Instrument) in single engine land aircraft. She is also certified as a NAUI Rescue Diver and a PADI Advanced Open Water SCUBA Diver with 40+ dives and several specialty certifications. She has earned her Static Line Instructor and Coach ratings from the United States Parachute Association and is also an FAA Certified Senior Parachute Rigger with over 300 freefall jumps. Tanya is currently a Ski Patrol Candidate, training to become a full patroller this coming ski season. She also enjoys triathlon, lifting, and figure skating.