Integrating Women into the Astronaut Corps
Politics and Logistics at NASA, 1972–2004
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright
As a child and young adult, I wanted to be an astronaut. I grew up during the Shuttle era and watched intently each Shuttle launch on television that I could. I plastered my bedroom wall, not with posters of teen idols or pop stars, but with pictures of launches and newspaper articles about women...
It was a hot Sunday morning in July, a typical summer morning in Houston, Texas. It was the kind of morning best spent relaxing and keeping cool, particularly if one were nine months pregnant. But today she was up on a stepladder, reaching for items on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet. After all, she and her husband were moving into their new home soon and they...
1. Beyond Rosie the Riveter
When NASA introduced the members of its Group XIX astronaut selection on May 6, 2004, the agency was also introducing a new kind of astronaut: the "educator mission specialist." For the first time, not every astronaut candidate had to possess a background in aviation, science (including...
2. Wilma Deering Meets Captain Janeway
The Soviet Union successfully launched Valentina Tereshkova, the world's first woman in space, aboard Vostofe 6 on June 16,1963. This event was the culmination of decades-old, perhaps centuries-old, ideas of women in space. Even though NASA is the American organization that put people into...
3. "The Damn Crazy Things!"
Between February 1960 and July 1961, thirteen women underwent, and passed, medical tests at the Lovelace Foundation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, physical and psychological examinations highly similar to those given at the clinic to the astronaut candidates who became the original Mercury...
4. Making Space
NASA designed its post-Apollo vehicle, the Space Shuttle, to make access to space routine. Its idea was to create "an integrated, efficient, economical space capability consisting of permanent space station modules and a low unit-mission cost space transportation system that will make earth...
5. "The Strange Ones"
On January 16,1978, NASA introduced its first new class of astronauts in nine years. Designated as Group VIII, the class of 1978 represented not only the largest class of astronauts in agency history but also the first to have the appearance of "a NASA affirmative-action poster."1 For the first time, the...
6. Defying Gravity
Even before Alan Shepard's suborbital flight on May 5,1961, NASA engineers and physicians spent a lot of time, energy, and resources trying to answer the question of how to put a person into space safely. With the Soviet Union's flights of Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova in the early 1960s,...
7. "NASA Sutra"
When NASA's administrators made the decision to include women in the astronaut corps, probably few people truly were aware of all the potential consequences of such a move. Developing the hardware and equipment was definitely challenging, but not nearly as controversial as the social...
8. Uninvited Heroics
When NASA selected the first six women astronauts in 1978, no one really knew how having women in the astronaut corps and on the upcoming Space Shuttle flights would work out. As much as the agency prepared for the eventuality of women serving as astronauts, it remained...
On November 3, 2007, astronauts Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock performed a spacewalk to repair a torn solar array on the International Space Station (ISS). The tear formed when the array was being unfurled after its installation by the crews of STS-120 and Expedition 16.1 What...
Essay on Sources
Because this work tells the story of integrating women into the astronaut corps from multiple perspectives, the sources are equally varied. The majority of the book discusses some of the everyday tensions and issues that arose during selection, training, and the actual flights of the first female astronauts, making oral histories...
Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 12 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2011
OCLC Number: 794700367
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