I was born in Pakistan, and my family moved to Kuwait when I was one month old. Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the beautiful night sky. My fondest memories growing up is taking walks with my family at night, either in the desert or on the sidewalk by the Arabian Gulf, looking up at the sky to admire the moon and stars, and thinking about astronauts like Neil Armstrong who have stepped on the moon. It is around this time when I developed a passion for science, space and astronomy.
In 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, my family and I had to evacuate. We took a bus and reached the Iraq-Jordan no-man’s land late at night. We could not get a tent since all of them were taken up by other refugees. Even though this was a tough time for us, one of the things I remember from that night is having a nice view of the sky with the moon and stars, while trying to sleep on the cold desert sand. We made it safely into Jordan the next day and then flew to Pakistan. I moved back to Kuwait with my family in 1992.
My parents always emphasized the value of a good education and hard work. My mom made sure that my siblings and I learned English at a very young age as it is an international language. Math and science were my favorite subjects in school. Math was my dad’s favorite subject and he used to tell me that I should try to get 100% marks on my Math tests. When I was in the 8th grade, I knew that I wanted to become an engineer because it would allow me to apply what I learned in math and science.
After completing high school in Kuwait, I moved to the USA in 1997 to pursue a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from University of Central Florida (UCF). This was my first time away from my family and I had to learn quickly how to live by myself at just 17 years old. I remember physics being my first hard class and I did not do well on the first exam. I went to the library and spent hours and hours there, reading physics books and practicing problems. When time came for the final exam, I calculated that I needed to get exactly a 100% on the exam to get an A in the class. When I got my graded exam back, I could not believe that I received a 105% on the exam – I even got the 5 point bonus question right! This experience re-emphasized to me that anything is possible with consistent hard work and dedication, and to never give up on your goals and dreams.
After graduating from UCF, I joined the Boeing Company at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) as a Systems Engineer working on International Space Station (ISS) processing. I was involved with integrated testing of the ISS components and sometimes astronauts would stop by to either view or participate in the testing. It is during this time that I developed a strong desire to become an astronaut and started taking steps towards this goal. I knew that in order to become an astronaut I had to pursue an advanced degree, so I obtained an M.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech while working full-time.
In 2008, I accepted a position with NASA at KSC as an Avionics & Flight Controls Engineer. When I started working for NASA, I felt that I became a step closer to achieving my dream of becoming an astronaut. Currently I am in the Engineering and Technology Directorate, supporting the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP), working on expendable launch vehicles such as the Pegasus XL and Falcon 9. I provide technical expertise, follow launch vehicle testing, perform data reviews and provide technical assessments of engineering issues. I have the privilege of working with an amazing team, while doing what I love.
NASA has provided me with opportunities for professional development. While working at NASA, I obtained a Graduate Certificate in Space Systems Engineering from Stevens Tech and participated in the 2012 Space Studies Program offered by the International Space University.
In addition to my engineering work, I often volunteer for outreach and public affairs activities because I love to inspire others. I speak to students at local schools about my career and have volunteered as a science fair judge. I also provide real-time updates to the NASA LSP Twitter and Facebook accounts during LSP launch countdowns when I am not directly providing engineering support for the mission itself.
I consider myself extremely blessed to have a job that I absolutely love, making contributions to the U.S. Space Program. The experiences of my life have taught me to always dream big and to never give up because you can achieve whatever you want if you work hard.
Hibah Rahmani was born in Pakistan, raised in Kuwait and moved to the United States after high school. Being fascinated with the beautiful night sky, she developed a passion for science, space and astronomy at a very young age. Math and science were her favorite subjects in school and by the time she was in eighth grade, she knew that she wanted to become an engineer. Hibah obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, with Honors in the major from the University of Central Florida, graduating summa cum laude. After graduation, she accepted a position with The Boeing Company as a Systems Engineer working on the International Space Station processing at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). While working full-time for Boeing, Hibah earned a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech. Hibah is also a registered Professional Engineer (P.E) in the State of Florida. After working for Boeing for seven years, Hibah accepted a position with NASA as an Avionics and Flight Controls Engineer. Currently, she works in the Avionics Division of the Engineering and Technology Directorate. She is part of the Expendable Launch Vehicles (ELV) Avionics Branch, where she supports the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP), working on ELVs such as Pegasus and Falcon 9. Hibah considers herself fortunate to have always been surrounded by encouraging and inspirational people including her parents, siblings, teachers, managers, mentors and teammates. While working at NASA, Hibah obtained a Graduate Certificate in Space Systems Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and also participated in the International Space University’s 2012 Space Studies Program. Hibah is the recipient of several awards including Pride-at-Boeing awards, NASA Group Achievement awards and NASA On-The-Spot awards. In addition to her engineering duties, Hibah often volunteers for Education and Outreach activities such as speaking to students at local schools and providing updates to the LSP Twitter and Facebook page. In her free time, Hibah loves to paint with water colors, scuba dive and volunteer for lake restoration projects. She aspires to become a NASA astronaut one day. Hibah considers herself extremely blessed to have a job that she absolutely loves, working with an amazing team, making contributions to the U.S. Space Program. She believes that you can achieve anything you want with consistent hard work.