Almost everyone in our modern society has heard of Neil Armstrong - the first person to walk on the moon! But how about Judy Resnik, Annie Easley, Mae C. Jemison, and Sally Ride? Most of us don’t know the names of all the women who are an integral part of engineering, building, or flying at NASA. So let’s change that.
Judy Resnik was the fourth woman to fly in space on the STS-41-D mission in 1984. On this mission, she operated the mechanical arm that moved objects outside of the spacecraft. But not only that; she was also an electrical engineer, software engineer, biomedical engineer, pilot, and, of course, NASA astronaut (nasa.gov). She impacted so many lives while working at NASA, and yet, she remains unrecognized.
“In 1955, [Annie] Easley began her career as a ‘human computer,’ doing computations for researchers. This involved analyzing problems and doing calculations by hand” (nasa.gov). Later, Easley continued on to be a computer programmer for NASA, translating and researching several different power systems. In fact, she conducted critical research on battery technology used for early hybrid vehicles. Without her, NASA, and the world, could not have made the advancements that it did.
Mae C. Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space. She was among 15 candidates chosen from around 2,000 for NASA’s astronaut program. She was the science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab-J (futurism), and the first woman of color in space. She will continue to inspire us all today and long in the future.
Lastly, Sally Ride was the first American woman to be up in space. She flew on Mission STS-7, before flying up again on Mission STS-41-G. She was the only woman on the flight, with four male crewmates. In an interview, Ride lamented, “I came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the first to get a chance to go into space.” Sally Ride will continue to be an inspiration to us all.
There are so many women working at NASA and traveling into space that do not get the recognition they deserve. However, at the end of the day, they are out of this world.