(September 28, 2020) AIAA Member Spotlight on Michelle Evans

Michelle Evans
AIAA Distinguished Lecturer
AIAA Member
Founder and President, Mach 25 Media (www.Mach25Media.com)
Writer, Photographer, and Communications Specialist in aerospace

Michelle Evans is the founder and president of Mach 25 Media (www.Mach25Media.com) and is a writer, photographer, and communications specialist in aerospace. She has written the bestselling book “The X-15 Rocket Plane, Flying the First Wings into Space” which was published by the University of Nebraska Press as part of their “Outward Odyssey, People’s History of Spaceflight” series.
Michelle’s background in aerospace engineering includes serving in the US Air Force working on missile systems, and later in private industry accomplishing environmental testing for systems used in airliners and spacecraft. Her current work with Mach 25 Media provides education and display services for astronaut appearances and other space-related events at government facilities, science centers, schools, and other venues across the country and overseas.
Michelle was elected as the President of the Orange County Space Society for 14 years, overseeing the group’s activities on science, exploration, and technology outreach throughout California, across the United States, as well as overseas in Izmir, Turkey. Working with Global Friendship Through Space Education, she helped partner school children in the United States with those in Turkey and other countries for programs at Space Camp Turkey. In conjunction with her work there, she also led a tour group to witness the total solar eclipse from Manavgat, Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. Locally, she has worked extensively with, and has provided permanent exhibit artifacts for the Tessmann Planetarium at Santa Ana College.
Michelle is a Distinguished Lecturer with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and her book on the X-15 was a finalist for the Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature. Michelle received the Diverse Community Leader Award from Orange County Human Relations, and was recognized as number 3 on the Orange County Register’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Orange County. She has appeared in numerous publications, including Air & Space Smithsonian, Ad Astra, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. Michelle had a feature story about her life in Time magazine. She was a technical consultant on the Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man,” and has consulted with National Geographic television.
On transgender issues Michelle is the founder of the TG Rainbow support group which has operated in Tustin for the past 10 years. She is also the Transgender Coordinator for the PFLAG Speakers Bureau for Orange County and Long Beach, and has spoken to high schools, colleges, universities, civic groups, private companies, governmental agencies, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy nearly 300 times over the past 13 years. She and her wife Cherie, have been vocal advocates for trans rights, specifically in the fight for marriage equality that raged for more than a decade before finally being settled in favor of all LGBTQ people by the Supreme Court. Michelle has also been instrumental in the education of medical insurance companies when it comes to the needs and rights of transgender patients.

Michelle Evans with X-15 pilot and astronaut Joe Engle. (Courtesy of Michelle Evans)
Michelle Evans with the X-15 at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. (Courtesy of Michelle Evans)