Lt. Gen. Susan J. Helms is Commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), Air Force Space Command; and Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. She is directly responsible to the USSTRATCOM Commander for the development and implementation of national security policy and guidance and responsible for the development of the nation's strategic war plan, strategic support plans for combatant commanders and contingency planning for the global strike mission. She has served as an F-15 and F-16 weapons separation engineer and a flight test engineer.
Selected by NASA in January 1990, General Helms became an astronaut in July 1991. On January 13, 1993, then an Air Force major and a member of the space shuttle Endeavour crew, she became the first U.S. military woman in space. She flew on STS-54 (1993), STS-64 (1994), STS-78 (1996) and STS-101 (2000), and served aboard the International Space Station as a member of the Expedition-2 crew (2001). A veteran of five space flights, Gen. Helms has logged 211 days in space, including a spacewalk of eight hours and 56 minutes, a world record.