Captain, USN Retired
Captain Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. She attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Navy ROTC Scholarship, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1984 and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1985.
As an Engineering Duty Officer, Captain Piper served at various ship repair facilities and on maintenance staffs. She qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer onboard USS Grapple (ARS 53). Captain Piper is also an experienced Navy Diving and Salvage Officer. Major salvage projects include the development of a salvage plan for the Peruvian Navy salvage of the Peruvian submarine Pacocha; and the de-stranding of the tanker Exxon Houston off Barber’s Point, Oahu, Hawaii.
Selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1996, Captain Piper reported to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She is a veteran of two space flights: STS-115 on the space shuttle Atlantis in September, 2006 and STS-126 on the space shuttle Endeavour in November, 2008, logging over 27 days and 15 hours in space. She has completed five space walks, totaling 33 hours and 42 minutes of Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) time.
In August 2009, Captain Piper departed NASA and reported to the Naval Sea Systems Command. In May 2011, Captain Piper reported as Commanding Officer of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division in West Bethesda, MD. In July 2013, Captain Piper assumed command of Southwest Regional Maintenance Center in San Diego, CA, responsible for all non-nuclear ship maintenance in the San Diego area. She retired from the U.S. Navy after 30 years of Active Duty Service on 01 July 2015.
She and her husband currently reside in Oak Harbor, WA.