The Moon, April 1972.
The Moon, April 1972.
June 18 - Sally Ride “America’s first woman astronaut communicates with ground controllers from the flight deck during the six day mission of the Challenger. 06/18/1983 - 06/24/1983.”
June 18, 1983: Sally Ride Becomes the First American Woman in Space
On this day in 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She was a mission specialist aboard the Challenger. She rode the space shuttle Challenger into orbit in 1983, but she was also a NASA adviser, a lifelong educator, and a founder of Sally Ride Science, a venture dedicated to inspiring and teaching young people, especially girls, about science and space.
Watch an NOVA’s uncut interview with the late astronaut, conducted at NASA in 1984.
The interval between the start and the end of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” is 3 minutes and 30 seconds, and the International Space Station is moving is 7.66 km/s.
This means that if an astronaut on the ISS listens to “I’m Gonna Be”, in the time between the first beat of the song and the final lines …
… they will have traveled just about exactly 1,000 miles.
To be alive, now, in this age.
That last comment.
Today is not only Friday the 13th, it’s also a full moon! Nicknamed the Strawberry moon or Rose moon since both of those plants are at their peak in June.
Illustration of the moon from Iconographic encyclopaedia of science, literature, and art (1852)
The Apollo 11 lunar module “Eagle” returning to the command module before docking on July 21, 1969. (NASA)
Launch of STS-30, May 4th, 1989
On May 4, 1989, the Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-30) lifted off from Kennedy Space Center. The crew consisted of pilot Ronald J. Grabe, commander David M. Walker, and mission specialists Norman E. Thagard, Mary L. Cleave, and Mark C. Lee. The primary payload for the mission was the Magellan/Venus Radar mapper spacecraft and attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). The Magellan spacecraft, which arrived at Venus on August 10, 1990, collected radar images of 98 percent of the planet’s surface, with resolution 10 times better than that of the earlier Soviet Venera 15 and 16 missions. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. held overall responsibility for the Space Shuttle’s external tanks, main engines, and solid rocket boosters.
Image credit: NASA
Dr Joan Higginbotham the second Black Woman to become an astronaut.
Higginbotham began her career in 1987 at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, as a Payload Electrical Engineer in the Electrical and Telecommunications Systems Division. Within six months she became the lead for the Orbiter Experiments (OEX) on OV-102, the Space Shuttle Columbia. She later worked on the Shuttle payload bay reconfiguration for all Shuttle missions and conducted electrical compatibility tests for all payloads flown aboard the Shuttle. She was also tasked by KSC management to undertake several special assignments where she served as the Executive Staff Assistant to the Director of Shuttle Operations and Management, led a team of engineers in performing critical analysis for the Space Shuttle flow in support of a simulation model tool, and worked on an interactive display detailing the Space Shuttle processing procedures at Spaceport USA (Kennedy Space Center’s Visitors Center). Higginbotham then served as backup orbiter project engineer for OV-104, Space Shuttle Atlantis, where she participated in the integration of the orbiter docking station (ODS) into the space shuttle used during Shuttle/Mir docking missions. Two years later, she was promoted to lead orbiter project engineer for OV-102, Space Shuttle Columbia. In this position, she held the technical lead government engineering position in the firing room where she supported and managed the integration of vehicle testing and troubleshooting. She actively participated in 53 space shuttle launches during her 9-year tenure at Kennedy Space Center.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Higginbotham reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Since that time, she had been assigned technical duties in the Payloads & Habitability Branch, the Shuttle Avionics & Integration Laboratory (SAIL), the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Operations (Ops) Support Branch, where she tested various modules of the International Space Station for operability, compatibility, and functionality prior to launch, the Astronaut Office CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) Branch in the startup and support of numerous space station missions and space shuttle missions, the Robotics Branch, and Lead for the International Space Station Systems Crew Interfaces Section.
Higginbotham logged over 308 hours in space during her mission with the crew of STS-116 where her primary task was to operate the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). Higginbotham took a scarf for the Houston Dynamo on board with her during her mission.
Higginbotham was originally assigned to the crew of STS-126 targeted for launch in September 2008. On November 21, 2007, NASA announced a change in the crew manifest, due to Higginbotham’s decision to leave NASA to take a job in the private sector. Donald Pettit replaced Higginbotham for STS-126.
Awards and Honors
In 2007, Higginbotham received the Adler Planetarium Women in Space Science Award.
- NASA Exceptional Service Medal
- Group Award for achievements related to the flight of STS-26 (the first shuttle flight after the Challenger disaster)
- Commendation of Merit for Service to the Department of Defense Missions
- Black Rose Award (2007) awarded by the (League of Black Women) for contribution to gender equality