Women in Space

This week we celebrate one of the most inspiring moments in women’s history here in the United States. While Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan were aboard the space shuttle Challenger, making it the first space flight to include two women, Sullivan became the first U.S. woman to walk in space. Both women hold a special place in the history of women in space.

Sally Ride was the first U.S. women to go to space in 1983 and was also the first women to use a robot arm in space. She left NASA and went on to become professor of physics at the University of California in San Diego as well as Director of the California Space Institute. Currently she is the President of Sally Ride Science, a company that creates science programs for elementary and upper class students, with a special focus on girls. In 2006 she was inducted into the California hall of fame at the California Museum for History, Women and the arts.

Kathryn Sullivan also served as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve. After leaving NASA she went on to become the Director for Ohio State University at Battelle Center for Math and Science.  In 2009 she was elected to a three-year term as Chair of the Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Last April, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, and Naoko Yamazaki, 39, blasted-off from Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral, later to dock at the International Space Station where they met up with Tracy Caldwell Dyson become the largest gathering of women in space.

Have you talked to your kids about a possible career in space? Visit the local library where you can find a number of young adult books on women in space and mark this week’s special occasion.

You can find pictures of Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan on their historic flight at the Women’s History Section on About.com.

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