NASA People

Center Snapshot: Heide Borchardt
Heide Borchardt. Image above: Heide Borchardt has been working at NASA Langley since 1990, although her NASA career began at Johnson Space Center. NASA/Sean Smith

Denise Lineberry

On Tuesday, Heide Borchardt will return from an extended, Columbus Day weekend, just as the rest of us. But her return will mark the start of something new.

She will transition from a job as schedule manager for ATK to lead scheduler in the Independent Program Assessment Office as a civil servant.

Her NASA venture began in 1981, when she worked at Johnson Space Center (JSC). She started her career in space shuttle programming, working through the aftermath of the Challenger disaster. “It was during a time when personal computers and the Internet were just being introduced into the workplace,” she said.

After arriving at Langley in 1990, she did not have her own computer. Borchardt witnessed a “boom” of technology and, within a year of her arrival, “everyone had a computer.”

She worked on projects such as the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III, the 757, return-to-flight for Columbia and the Launch Abort System (LAS).

“It was amazing to go from no computer to a new generation of space flight [LAS],” Borchardt said. “I feel so lucky. I never thought that this is what I would do growing up.”

That might have been because the 1980s were also a time when, not only computers were being introduced into the workplace, but women were, too. Heide knew she wanted a career. Her husband, Bob Borchardt of the Science Directorate, was supportive of her goals and encouraged her to apply with NASA.

She originally had a job lined up in Germany, but when she received an offer to work at JSC, her plans quickly changed.

And the rest was history.

Some of her history still resides in Germany. Her father was born there. Borchardt lived in Germany during the summer with her grandparents. Her uncle and several cousins still reside there.

She brings pieces of Germany into her home in Virginia. From time to time, she cooks a German cuisine for her family. She learned to cook at a young age as the oldest of five siblings with divorced parents.

She picked up a love for painting from her great uncle, who is an artist, when she went to visit her grandmother on her 50th birthday. Borchardt enjoys painting with oils and is developing her karate skills through the Langley Karate Club (LKC).

Virginia is where her heart lies. It was here that she spent much of her time growing up. She graduated from Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk and earned her bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University. After completing her masters at Florida Tech and working at JSC, she was excited to return “back home” again in 1988.

Virginia is also where she and Bob extended their own family with two sons and two grandchildren. All of this was a possibility thanks to Heide’s cousins, who lived with Bob and set the two of them up on a “blind date.”

It obviously went well.

In 2006, Heide and Bob celebrated their 25th anniversary in Paris. She also enjoyed traveling to Italy on a business trip for SAGE III. “They are such beautiful places with amazing sights,” she said.

They only thing that was missing from that trip was her husband.

Whether, it’s business or personal, Heide is happy with the path she has chosen, and she looks forward to the paths untraveled.

Before being offered and accepting a new position, she stated: “I would like to continue working in scheduling and helping people learn to manage projects better with schedules.”

And as an eager lead scheduler, she will do just that.