The story of Hibah Rahmani is an inspiration for all of us in Pakistan. A scientist by trade, Rahmani is working as avionics and flight control engineer at NASA, one of the leading positions in the organization.
Rahmani was born in Pakistan but moved to Kuwait with her family when she was just one month old.
One of her fondest memories from childhood is taking walks with her family in the blue and starry nights of the Arabian Gulf. She was always fascinated by the blue skies filled with stars.
She would also occasionally think about astronauts like Neil Armstrong. It was around that time she developed a passion for astronomy, space, and science.
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.
Hibah recalls that Math and science were always her favorite subjects. She was also bestowed with parents who put their children’s education first.
By the time she reached 8th grade, she had already decided to become an engineer.
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.
In 1997, Hibah moved to the United States to pursue B.S degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida.
This was the first time she was away from her family and at that time, she was only 17 years old. But she never lacked in the courage to live by herself. She quickly learned the ways of the new country and started focusing on her studies.
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
Rahmani put in a lot of effort to pass her final exams. She was awarded extra 5 points for getting a bonus question right.
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, she joined the Boeing Company at the Kennedy Space Center as a Systems Engineer. Her job description allowed her to get involved with integrated testing of ISS components. She was occasionally visited by astronauts.
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 was at that time she developed a very strong desire to become an astronaut herself. She took the necessary steps to reach her goal. One of the first things she had to do to reach her goal was to obtain an advanced degree.
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, she finally accepted a position at NASA at KSC and became an Avionics & Flight Controls Engineer.
She is currently in the Engineering and Technology Directorate which supports the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP). She has to provide technical expertise, perform data reviews, provide technical assessments of engineering issues and follow launch vehicle testing on vehicles such as the Pegasus XL (pictured below) and the Falcon 9.
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.
Rahmani considers herself to be extremely blessed to have landed a job she had loved from the very beginning. Her experiences in life have taught her that it is perfectly fine to dream big and never give up because if you try hard, you can achieve anything you wish for.
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.